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With a charming and agreeable voice mirroring the likes of Colbie Caillat and Ingrid Michaelson, Houston-born Brooke Waggoner opened Sunday's show at JavaJazz, impressing the crowd with the catchy keyboards of "Hush If You Must." Compared to the recorded versions, the songs' richer textures and quicker tempos live made them instantly likeable - 'I Am Mine' was a definite crowd-pleaser, even to the many guys in the audience. Next out was Seattle's This Providence, with Australian-born lead vocalist Dan Young teasing the girls on hand by passionately singing "Sure As Hell." (Sorry ladies, he's married.) The band is finally coming into its own on new album Who Are You Now?, but the audience was relatively calm until "That Girl's a Trick" set them off. "Each show for us is like a video game," Young said afterward. "We are constantly striving to get better and beat our last score. We definitely felt a lot of energy at the show tonight."
The lights dimmed, the crowd burst into claps and shouts, and Copeland finally came out. Vocalist Aaron Marsh knew his audience well - this was Copeland's third time at Java Jazz, the first since the Floridians' latest album, You Are My Sunshine, was released in October and last month's The Grey Man EP, which features a dark, melancholic reworking of the familiar tune written by former Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis. Copeland gradually increased the set's momentum, as the songs got quicker and quicker until the show ended on a high note with the appropriately named "You Have My Attention." The largely collegiate crowd of dedicated followers packed JavaJazz and then some - some people enjoyed the music (and the cool Houston night) from the patio out back. After the music ceased, all the bands were friendly and chatty, hanging out at the merchandise table until the last concert-goers left.