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Concert Review: Cody Simpson at Barclays Center, Brooklyn 8/2/2013

If you’re over the age of 16 and teeny bopper beats aren’t your cup of tea, it may be really easy to write Cody Simpson off before you’ve ever really listened to one of his songs. At first glance, he’s just another good looking teenager with a voice and a guitar (and even though that’s nothing to complain about, we’re constantly being presented with a similar combination, and they can’t all be great, can they?) I was able to hear Cody perform live at the Justin Bieber Believe Tour’s Brooklyn stop — thanks to essence cosmetics — and I was seriously impressed. 

Let me just say that I went to this concert with some girls from the office and a bunch of Justin Bieber-obsessed teenage fans. If you’ve never seen a group of women with tucked-in blouses and Ann Taylor knee-length pencil skirts bopping alongside 8th graders in custom made beaded crop tops, you really need to experience it at some point. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had at a concert.

I had heard of Cody before the show and he was honestly the act I was most excited about seeing. (Note: the Barclays lineup included Hot Chelle Rae, Rixton, and headliner Justin Bieber.) His super-catchy “Pretty Brown Eyes” was still in my head after watching his performance the CW’s Young Hollywood Awards the night before. But it turns out, there is something magical about seeing him perform live.

Cody is all of 16 years old, and you only barely notice it. I notice it because he knows exactly what 16 year olds love — catchy, danceable music and a GOOD show to go with it. I was most impressed with his stage presence and natural style of working the crowd. It’s the kind of talent you just can’t teach someone, as you can’t make people comfortable with a sold-out Brooklyn crowd, and I could never be that breezy with a critical audience now, forget when I was 16. Sure, his dreamy Australian accent did 85% of the work in capitvating the crowd, but he did all the work.

Gracious and genuine, Cody thanked the audience multiple times for supporting him so far in his career — it’s actually quite extensive considering his age. Nothing gets me like a teenager with manners. Even your average 16 year old guy wouldn’t be as humble, and they don’t have the 18,000 fans screaming at him.

Plus, he sings LIVE. Again, it’s another thing I shouldn’t have to say I’m impressed with at this point. Aren’t we fans of musicians because they have musical talent? But we all know that singing live to a triple-decker stadium isn’t the norm, and he managed to sing, dance, and work the guitar like it was nothing.

My co-workers and I briefly wondered which came first with Cody — did he know how to sing and THEN someone taught him guitar? And THEN someone taught him to dance? And THEN someone taught him how to dance WITH a guitar? And THEN he got breezy stage presence? But this would be way too complicated — Cody is clearly a true born natural at all of this.

And the songs! The verses are simple enough that even if you’ve never heard the songs before, you’ll be singing along in no time (I’m looking at you “La Da Dee” !!)  — which in my opinion, is concert gold. Going to a concert for someone you’ve only vaguely heard of and then not knowing any of the complicated lyrics is the best way to feel like you’re on the outside of a really funny inside joke that everyone else is enjoying. Two seconds into the set and I was really rocking out along with Cody, which is pretty uncharacteristic for me. Not just swaying and foot-tapping — actual dancing in the aisle, tucked-in blouse and all.

Watch: Cody Simpson “Pretty Brown Eyes”

About Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer from New Jersey. When not quoting Tolstoy or catching up on her Twitter feed, she can be found watching iCarly or perusing the clearance racks at Bloomingdales.

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