Almost a year has passed since Denver psych-rock band the Copper Children performed live. The group played at the Bluebird Theater on March 12, 2020 — the last show at the venue before it temporarily shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the show, the band recorded a video of its song "Drama in the City," a seven-minute psychedelic groove in which singer Zea Stallings croons: "Too much drama in the city.... There was drama in my city yesterday, but there's no drama in my city today."
Watching the video is a surreal experience. People are dancing unmasked. The musicians take extended solos, savoring each riff. And Stallings sings about "no drama in the city" while an impending pandemic looms.
The band is releasing the video in anticipation of a live show — the first one since that fateful night nearly a year ago. The group will play a socially distant gig at the Oriental Theater on March 12. The crowd will be limited to a hundred people, with each party spaced out at their own tables. Westword caught up with bassist Andy Babb to find out more.
Westword: What do you remember about that last show at the Bluebird? Were you aware it was going to be your last live show for a long time?
Andy Babb: I remember the excitement of headlining the Bluebird, as well as the strange vibration of fear and uncertainty that was in the air. The NBA had postponed their season that day due to COVID. We had put in so much work to get to that moment that I deeply trusted it was going to still happen. We had a feeling it was going to be our last show for a while. Little did we know it was going to be exactly a year until we played in an actual theater again.
The video harks back to what seems to be a different time. What emotions does it bring up when you watch it?
It makes me smile and want to get up and start dancing. Live music is the heart of our culture. I'm so glad it's returning.
The video is pretty trippy. Why did y'all go with that vibe?
Our videographer, Michael Murray, did a good job capturing the feel of our group. We are a psychedelic gospel band, after all!
The main refrain, "no more drama," seems to call for something that's impossible, especially with the impending COVID-19 pandemic in the background. How do you think about music's potential to imagine other ways of being?
As creative musicians, we are often the idealist dreamers that plant the seeds for the future in the heads of our audience. We have a great opportunity to positively influence the world around us, and I feel we do a good job of that as a group. We truly believe "no more drama" is a possibility; otherwise we wouldn't sing about it.
What have you been up to during the pandemic as a band? Any new projects?
We've been taking a break as a band for a few months, each of us going our own ways. A couple of us went traveling for a while. Others have stayed in Colorado and worked on getting our lives in order after almost five years of the nonstop "Copper Children life" of touring, traveling, playing shows and rehearsing twice a week. It's been a nice break for us, and I feel it's only going to make us stronger as we return full force down the road.
What are you most excited about for your upcoming gig? What kind of experience should audience members expect?
I would say I'm most excited about playing music to real, living, breathing people, not just our cameras and computer screens. I'm super grateful for live streaming, but nothing compares to the magic of live music. If 2020 taught us anything, it's to not have expectations, but to still stay hopeful, positive and open to change. We will be rocking the stage with our full five-piece, playing some old favorites and a few new ones, as well.
The Copper Children play at 9 p.m. Friday, March 12, at the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue. Tickets are $20 and available at the Oriental Theater website.
Correction, March 5: An earlier version of this story misidentified the band's singer. We regret the error.
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