Speak up: Attack of the cover vultures

Jeremy Anderson
at Coupe DeVille's
Monday, June 23

The pairing of local singer/songwriter Jeremy Anderson with that bastion of collared shirts known as Coupe DeVille's was more than a little amusing, especially to the songwriter himself. "When I was asked, I knew I just had to do it," said Anderson, a glint of childish glee sparkling behind his spectacles.

I arrived about five minutes before Anderson was scheduled to perform, and already the din from the khaki short/button-down crowd was swelling. The few times I've been to Coupe's in the past have been during the school year, when baseball caps and tank tops stretched as far as the eye could see. The place is the unofficial "Bar of the Frat Crowd," a title which the establishment has always seemed to wear with pride (on Friday nights, they must rake it in).

During the summer, the venue seems to be a hangout for the over-30 crowd, most of them appearing to have once pledged never-ending loyalty to their fraters or sorors.

Anderson began his set with a cover of Leonard Cohen's "So Long, Marianne," a beautiful piece, to say the least. "You held on to me like I was a crucifix," goes a line from verse three, and Anderson, his voice almost the exact opposite of Cohen's, soared high at all the right points.

With only his guitar and vocals mic'd into two small guitar amps, and the fact that Anderson was performing outside where sounds have a habit of escaping into the universe, the setup at Coupe's was rather lacking, to say the least. The stage is a smallish area enclosed by a wooden fence, which Anderson commented on after his first song-­ "This is the type of place to play cowboy songs," the young man said, enjoying the absurdity of the night.

Anderson's second song, "Untitled," was a multi-part work ranging from sunny major passages to deeper minors­ I've seen Anderson a number of times in the last few years, and this piece probably shows his growth both as a lyricist and a composer more than any other of his tunes. Unfortunately, after two songs and an increasingly loud audience, the cover-vultures attacked.

"Billy Joel, do you know any Billy Joel? How about Barenaked Ladies?" yelled the crowd, producing a laughing negative response from Anderson. The singer's performance of the Simon and Garfunkel song "Homeward Bound" did produce a strong positive audience reaction, but two songs later a cover from Tom Waits' 1973 album Closing Time did not (as might have been expected) produce any response at all.

As the show wore on, it became harder to hear Anderson; the crowd grew louder, and the amps projecting his work into the night seemed to grow ever smaller. "Masturbation," "factors that have fallen" were heard coming from the stage, but these were few and far between, and instead, cries such as "Chucko, hey chucko" became the entertainment for the evening.