Monday, November 9, 2015

Hating On Aaron Marsh - Copeland, TLA, November 8th

I have hated Aaron Marsh for years. Since Sunday, April 11, 2010 to be exact; farewell concert, The Social, Orlando, FLA. I didn't go. 

That wasn't the issue, bands break up all the time, and I had no animosity, but Copeland was one of a handful of bands in the new millennium that mattered, and just like that, farewell concert. Call it disappointed.

Subsequent info on Marsh was sketchy at best: he was involved in new projects: producing; working on a new studio, blah blah blah. Two years, no results. Three years, The Lulls in Traffic? IDK, did that really exist or was it just a website that didn't work? You see, I'm pissed all over again; all my old fury reemerging. I'll take it out on flapjacks:

What the fcuk is a flapjack? A PANCAKE. Is there anything differentiating flapjacks from pancakes? Let's think, what does one put on flapjacks, syrup, the same exact syrup used on pancakes. That's why it's called PANCAKE SYRUP. Never once have I heard someone utter,"flapjack sauce." I understand that a flapjack has some historic tie to lumberjacking, so I can make an exception: lumberjacks, feel free, call them whatever you like...

Whew, OK. That off my chest, in 2014, after a four year hiatus, Aaron Marsh and crew reemerged with the album Ixora, an LP smooth as silk, mesmerizing, with songs that begin sparsely, building layer upon layer not to lose the beauty despite the cacophony. Last night, Copeland returned to Philadelphia at the Theatre of Living Arts, the forth stop on a whirlwind 25 city tour (alongside Eisley and We Are the City), with four songs off the bat from Ixora, "Have I Always Loved You," "Disjointed," "I Can Make You Feel Young Again" and "Erase" (coincidentally the first four off the album).

When I decided they'd do the entirety of Ixora (of which I'd only be critical in that it would take away from the older material), Copeland delved into five sonic timepieces from the last carnation of the band: "Should You Return," "The Grey Man," "Chin Up," "Coffee" and "When You Thought You'd Never Stand Out." There is something about Copeland that exudes intimacy; a few things really: the lyrics, the massiveness of sound, the way they manage to feel like a band you discovered on your own. I wasn't hating anymore. If all they'd done was "Coffee," it would have been enough. (What goes better with pancakes, after all, than coffee?) 

The evening's standouts were "The Day I Lost My Voice (Suitcase)" and "When Paula Sparks," conjuring up the Copeland of old as interpreted by a band focused sonically on its future. Unlike any  band in recent memory, Copeland is deceiving in its wall of sound structure. Songs start off quietly, sweetly, melancholy. They build like a bolero until one is awash in synethesia, hearing images and tasting colors. Last night those colors built upon themselves into the finale (Aaron's solo "Love Affair" and "In Her Arms You Will Never Starve"), a fitting close to a great return.

My only disappointment is personal. I would have liked the encore to have been "California," can envision in my head the crescendo in the end, building and building, thriving even after the event was over, echoing down South Street.  Yet what made the concert work was the lack of that Greatest Hits format of which so many bands are guilty. If a little brief, Copeland set up our anticipation of yet another album, and that, like pancakes, is always welcome.

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