Arts & Entertainment, Events, The Muse

Citizen Cope delivers the hits

Boston’s Paradise Rock Club filled to capacity with expectant fans, rocking from one foot back to the other while waiting for singer/songwriter Citizen Cope to grace the stage. Girls and boys with Xs on their hands fought for general admission floor space with adults of all ages and from all places. Fans flew in from as far as Texas to see Cope’s show. Signs on every door warned that no tickets were left for those unlucky enough not to already have one.

Nearly two hours after the Paradise opened its doors, Citizen Cope finally walked onto the stage. He was unaccompanied except for his acoustic guitar, and stood smiling at the audience without saying a word for nearly a minute. When the crowd’s lungs were empty from screaming, he struck a chord on his guitar and opened with hit song “Salvation.”

After playing two songs unaccompanied, four other musicians came out to help Cope play the rest of his show. Switching between his electric and acoustic guitar, Cope played all of his popular songs, such as “Bullet and a Target,” “Hurricane Waters,” “Son’s Gonna Rise” and “Pablo Picasso.” He also played many of the songs off of his new album, The Rainwater LP, such as “Healing Hands,” “Keep Askin'” and “Lifeline.”
But no one can have it all. An amazing songwriter and singer, Cope rested on the popularity of his songs instead of his stage presence to carry his performance. For example, fans drowned out the introduction of “Let the Drummer Kick” with their excited screaming, undulating as one with the strong bass drum beat and catchy piano chord progression. However, by the end of the song fans had lapsed back into the quiet pleasure of just listening. Cope sang the song plainly, only stepping back from the microphone to let a pre-recorded track sing the chorus.

Excessively long pauses in between songs and bows after some did not help the situation. Nearing the end of the show, Cope unexpectedly announced that the concert was over and promptly left the stage, a clear ploy for the audience to scream and shout for an encore. But after five minutes of chanting, “Cope! Cope! Cope!” much of the audience seemed more annoyed than excited when Cope regained the stage. A final recitation of “If There’s Love” and a brief “thank you” ended the show.

Citizen Cope just released his fourth album, The Rainwater LP. His appearance at the Paradise is just one stop in a nearly four-month tour stretching across the United States. Cope’s songs are a fantastic mixture of blues and alternative rock, unique beyond expectation in a music industry where everything sounds the same, but his show did not live up to such these standards. For such high numbers of fans coming out, the energy of the crowd contrasted starkly with the unenthusiastic performer onstage.

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