Nick Cope is the children’s singer-songwriter who brings acoustic, folky indie rock to the under-fives. Horn-rimmed, skinny-jeaned and silver-haired, he cuts a figure somewhere between Paul Weller and a mature Graham Coxon. But his music goes way beyond this aesthetic, using all the sophistication and tools of his genre to present topics and rhymes, sing-alongs and actions pitch perfect for his young audience.
Topics on offer in this skilled and fast-moving set include a song to encourage some warm-up movement, the reason Cope loves his socks so much and a story about a dog who ate some soap. There’s a silly bit with a monster that hides behind the neck of Cope’s guitar and plenty of opportunity for the Children’s theatre staple of making them make animal noises. Cope’s talent is to mould this material into the charming, wholesome rhymes of indie folk, reminiscent of the sort of wit-laden song-writing that often finds its way onto the comedy circuit: as funny as Jay Foreman, and as smart as Gavin Osborn.
Cope’s indie-chic is well played amongst his goofy demeanour and playful prattle. He never tries to be some cool older brother, more a funny uncle with a sunny smile and light, endearing sense of humour. On the day I saw him, he had a one-family audience. He played to them with outstanding professionalism and refreshing humbleness – essentially performing a set to make the day of just one child, not put off by the absence of other children, but spurred on by the opportunity to make any comer smile and laugh.
This is the real twist on Cope’s rock-star persona: There’s no egotism to it, there’s no rock-n-roll bravado. Cope puts the audience first, and deserves a much, much bigger one than he’s currently getting. If that audience could be you, go and see him.