Ron Pope at Oslo Hackney
Best known for hit single Drop in the Ocean, which after featuring on The Vampire Diaries and 90210 has gained the Atlanta musician a devoted following of young female fans, Ron Pope takes to the Oslo’s stage to perform a “small, fun and intimate” concert brimming with classic rock sounds, tales of fleeting teenage romance and sweeping pastoral rhymes.
Given his teen ballad credentials, Pope casts a surprisingly rugged appearance on stage with a battered checked shirt, loosely strapped guitar and long hair which falls in knotted curls about his shoulders. Since his brief flirtation with Universal Republic Pope has remained determinedly independent, his latest release Calling Off the Dogs is billed as his most daring yet, “exploring new territory and pushing boundaries even further”.
The evening begins with Pope’s latest pop track Lick My Wounds. With bright guitar and thumping drums it’s a marked deviation from Pope’s usual soft rock ballads. Piercing synth and a deep bass groove create a cheery sound much appreciated by the young audience who dance willingly to the track’s energetic rhythms. New song Nothing, accompanied by support act Hannah Trigwell, strips back the heavy guitar to reveal pretty harmonies and gentle piano while retaining a strident pop strain. Meanwhile Push Me Away thrills the crowd with its giddy instrumentals and bounding beats.
Pope also treats us to some older hits including I’m Yours which jaunts along in bold, cheery chords underscored by Pope’s gravely vocal and Fireflies’s swooping catchy choruses full of autumn scenes and changing seasonal landscapes. At certain points an overload of clichéd lyrics and standard rock-pop templates mar the proceedings, often bordering on becoming cloying and tawdry, but thankfully the classic rock strains which ebb and flow throughout the evening bring some retro originality to what could have been a bland affair.
Pope puts on an engaging show despite moments of paltry sentimentality, and his fans, who devotedly mouth the words to his entire musical catalogue, leave pleased and fulfilled.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information and for future events visit Ron Pope’s website here.
Watch the video for Lick My Wounds here: