Copeland, live at Irving Plaza, NYC, Oct. 5 2005
Copeland (it's a band, not a person) played an energetic opening set at the eagerly anticipated Bob Mould concert at Irving Plaza last night in New York City. Copeland is a tight quartet with a wall-of-sound two-guitar attack - except for a couple of songs where lead singer and rhythm guitarist Aaron Marsh switches to Rhodes piano - that charges and thrums through your whole body, especially out of Irving Plaza's superior sound system.
Marsh has the look of a shoegazer but the voice of an angel. His soaring tenor, which frequently sails into an ethereal but assured falsetto, is the most remarkable thing about the band. Sounding at times like a less angst-ridden Thom Yorke, Marsh also can evoke the very young Roger Daltry. And when bassist James Likeness chimes in with his crystalline backing vocals, the harmonies and vocal quality bring to mind, just a tiny bit, Roger McGuinn and the Byrds. Yet the band's attitude and sensibility are youthful and thoroughly modern.
Their anthemic songs could use a little more variety; their set steps up to a higher level at the end when they play their best two songs, "No One Really Wins" and "Love Is A Fast Song." Those two show Copeland's real potential to be a pop-rock powerhouse. Their ability to win over the Bob Mould crowd in spite of playing a very different kind of music was also an excellent sign.
Mould and his amazing band, incidentally, kicked butt. Watch and listen, punk-rock kiddies: that's how it's done. (I hadn't seen him since 1984, when Husker Du opened for REM at Harvard!)
Amelia's Dream, Unravel
After a long hiatus, Amelia's Dream is back with their third full-length CD. Recording Unravel live in the studio (vocals and keyboards were overdubbed) drew lively, powerful performances from the musicians, and the band's songwriters, Amelia Gewirtz and Harold Stephan, have a knack for catchy, simple melodies; the best of their songs, like the contemplative "Blue Sky," the rocking "Covered Up The Sun," the celestial "Save Me" and the Nirvana-inspired "Only On The Inside," have real staying power after a couple of listens.