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Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

In his first 54 Below solo show singer-songwriter Jaime Cepero strikes a human Superhero pose.

The title of Jaime Cepero's show may have been SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 but nobody at 54 Below on Wednesday was anxious. There was, in fact, not one negative emotion throughout the entire evening, except for a slight sense of disappointment when the party was over. This was a party, too, one of the best ever. Mr. Cepero informed his audience that (aside from sharing the songs he wrote during the pandemic) the evening was about "inviting good energy into the room," and that he wanted to "Bless The Mess." The good energy was definitely in the room, and the mess wasn't all that was blessed because each and every person sitting in the seats out front (and the 54 Below staff working the event) were the lucky ones on Wednesday night - this was the place to be.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Jaime Cepero is billed as an actor, writer, and activist but it is clear from his two appearances at 54 Below this season (the first was a Juneteenth concert he produced) that Mr. Cepero is not to be defined by three mere words. Watching him in action, listening to what he writes, hearing what he preaches, Cepero comes across as some kind of force of nature, a whirling dervish of an oracle, a new religion to follow, one based on love, on loving oneself, on loving others, and one based on always speaking truth and standing for what is right. It sounds exhausting just saying it - but this writer, having seen both of Cepero's 54 Below appearances this summer, is fully prepared to say that Jaime Cepero is one to watch, and he is one to commit to because even though it sounds exhausting, it is not. Being in the room with Jaime, his art, his philosophies, his teachings, his family, and his electrifying energy is that which nurtures us, awakens us, and keeps us questioning and questing.

And that is before he even begins singing.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

There is this tendency in the cabaret and concert community of artists to do Therapy Cabaret. That may or may not be an acknowledged term but if it isn't, it is now. Therapy Cabaret is that show that you go to where the artist on the stage is using the platform upon which they stand to do group therapy with a captive audience who can't walk out without, first, signaling their waiter, getting and paying their check, and leaving in the middle of a program in a room so small that everyone will see and note their departure. Therapy Cabaret is frustrating and it is boring, and it is far too prevalent, and what pushes an artist across the line from authenticity to therapy is undefinable because it is all based on script, intention, and execution. When Jaime Cepero stood on stage at 54 Below, talking about the pandemic, the quarantine, the anxiety, the honesty, the unhappiness, and everything else that informed the creation of twelve songs, there was every possibility that the evening would turn into Therapy Cabaret. But it didn't. That never happened because when an audience sits in a room, listening to an author discuss the creative process and the inspiration for a composition, it isn't therapy, whining, kvetching, or pissing & moaning - it is insight into the mind of the artist. It informs one's knowledge of the creation and enjoyment of the artwork - and the songs of Jaime Cepero are artwork. They are also damn fine musical entertainment, especially in the hands of the members of the Cepero Logical Family that were invited to share in the joy.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Seven beautiful singing actors were welcomed to the stage to sing Cepero's songs (more were announced but cast lists are subject to change) and each of these extraordinary talents shone brightly in their work as vocalists and as storytellers. Whether relying solely on their vocal expertise or a combination of vocals and acting talents, each artist brought their best to the proceedings in solo performances or duets with Cepero himself, delivering tales of unrequited love, toxic relationships, personality traits, and dreams lost and found. Particular standouts among the guest artists were Jason Veasey, whose performance of "Resting Bitch Face" is too unforgettable to be relegated to the memory (he must, now, perform it in every solo show he ever does), and Cartreze Tucker's thrilling delivery of the toxic-relationship-themed "Quicksand." Genesis Collado's duet with Cepero of "December" (which Jaime dedicated to his mother) was moody, melodic, and marvelous, but, at the end of the day, no matter how gifted and magnificent are his friends, the greatest interpreter of Jaime Cepero's artistry is Jaime Cepero himself.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy This man is an original. When they talk about breaking the mold, this is what they mean. Whether rambling in his rhetoric or saturating in his sentiment, every moment of Jaime Cepero's onstage time is invested to the maximum; every word spoken, every note sung, every emotion felt and expressed is the most important thing that will ever come from him. It is all bigger than the room, and important as the sky, and that is vital to the communication of his music and meaning. While some songwriters' talents might lean more heavily into either their lyrics or their music, Jaime Cepero manages equality in both of his tasks as an author. Without the benefit of his lyrics, Cepero's music would be justly powerful, and, were the music stripped from the stanzas, his poetry would still pack a punch. From start to finish, Cepero's setlist for Anxiety 2.0 is a record album in the making, but not just a record album - one of a significant journey, like Camouflage by Rufus or Songs In The Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. He is like every great singer-songwriter from your youth that meant something to you. The stories crafted, the truths told, the messages imparted, and the melodies enjoyed are reminiscent without being reductive and comfortable without becoming complacent. The compositions (especially when performed by Cepero) are eye-opening and innovative, all the while washing over the listener like a favorite chart-topper off of the radio, and during Wednesday night's program of Anthems and Lullabies Jaime Cepero fully earned two mid-show standing ovations for performances of "When I'm Gone" and "Circles" (the latter of which was a performance so spectacular that this writer led the Standing O). The vocals on display from the author were nothing short of mind-blowing. It may have been more fun for Jaime to do this concert with his friends, and it is always valuable and gratifying for audiences to be exposed to more artists of diversity, but a full evening of solo Cepero is in the air: it is warranted, it is necessary, and it is on its way, there can be no mistaking that.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy At the start of his evening of musical storytelling and positive energy preaching Jaime Cepero blurted out to the audience, "Can you believe this? I'm at 54 Below!" The answer is yes. It is to be believed because Jaime Cepero should be at 54 Below. This writer, this singer, this storyteller, this man should come back to 54 Below as often as he can, but he should also play out in clubs in every borough of New York City so that he, his work, and his message can get out and be shared. The people need to be exposed, the revolution needs to be televised, and Jaime Cepero needs to be in the light because he is the light - right out front, leading the way with all the crazy, exciting, wonderful parts of the man, theorist and artist that he is.

The SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 band were Drew Cooper on guitar, Sean Murphy on bass, Orion Turre on drums, and marvelous Maestro Darnell White acting as Musical Director from behind the piano.

Find great shows to see on the 54 Below website HERE.

Jaime Cepero has an online presence HERE.

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Jada Valenciaga

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Cartreze Tucker

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Michael Ray Fisher

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Kristina Nicole Miller

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Genesis Collado


Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Jason Veasey

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Destan Owens

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy
Darnell White

Review: Jaime Cepero's SONGS ABOUT ANXIETY 2.0 at 54 Below Is All Anthems And Lullabies And Pure Unadulterated Joy

Photos by Stephen Mosher

Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.


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