July 16, 2005 - Neumo's - Seattle, WA
by Dagmar Patterson
Last Saturday I arrived to see Seattle band the Cops with an unusually connected feeling. Last year for my birthday I saw the Walkmen, and one of the opening bands was the Cops. It was their first show under that name and they blew me away with their power and enthusiasm. This year, three days away from my birthday, it was their first anniversary.
Since the first show they have released an EP, Why Kids Go Wrong, and toured with The Hold Steady and U.S.E. A truly amazing aspect of the Cops is that all their songs are not only great in the sense they are instantly likeable, but greatís an understatement, they ring with perfection. Live I found them stronger and more charming than ever. They are a rock band, no doubt about that, but elements of reggae seep in as it did with the Clash. Their influences and sound are not derivative.
Each band member is key and as a whole they feed off each other with keen fervor. They are sharp and determined and still somehow make it look easy--and thatís not a bad thing. Guitarist John Randolph is a most fascinating, unpredictable and original performer. During the show he jumped, danced and then hopped onto a wobbly speaker, all the while attacking his guitar with virtuosity. Singer/Guitarist Mike Jaworski plants roiling guitar licks and roars with honesty and lust. He is blessed with tremendous presence and shattering talent. Bassist Brian Wallís playing expertly frolics and undulates. Perhaps the calmest Cop, his grooves are dangerous. Completing the foursome is drummer David Weeks, whose rolling, teasing, and rumbling drumming doesnít support the band, but builds it.
Their eleven track strong set list included songs off the first EP such as "Donít Take it Personal Dave" - a pure classic rock song, and new material that commingled marvelously with the older. "One Time Continuum" and the elegant "Negative Cutting" were particularly effective live.
I donít think they can put a foot wrong and they are a true benchmark band with only themselves to excel. Their LP, scheduled for an October release, will be a much loved belated birthday present for me. But this is not about me. Decide for yourself and hear how stellar they are when they play next with Pretty Girls Make Graves at Neumoís in Seattle on July 31st. Or hit up their website, http://www.thecopsmusic.com