Music is everywhere; sometimes you’ll discover it in a commercial, a movie, out of someone else’s car, or in the car with a douchebag wannabe parental figure. Regardless of how you discover it, when you do and it tickles that special part of your brain that makes you go, “Shit, this is awesome!” and potentially gives you a boner (regardless of gender), it sticks with you for all of time. Such was the case with the soul rock love of Washington D.C’S Citizen Cope. Very few of my favourite acts have been able to roll through the fair city of Montreal without me catching the show, but this cat managed to pull it off for years, constantly eluding my ears. That all changed this past Friday the 17th at Corona Theatre- live, acoustic, and mother fucking ALONE!
This gorgeous evening with Mr. Clarence Greenwood (aka Citizen Cope himself) started out with a nice a few mellow obscurities and title tracks, all while the crowd chitter-chattered the room to death, begging for hits and being shitheads. I personally found myself lost in the euphoria of all of it; it had been a dog’s age since I decided to binge on the Cope. The songs rolled, his voice soothed, his simplistic guitar renditions of his already smooth-as-fuck songs set a motion in my neck like a pendulum. Finally he cracks out “Bullet and a Target,” and we start to see a little more attention from the room. Still engaging in their personal bullshit conversations, which is very much a faux pas at a fucking acoustic show, I might add (and yes, that’s the douchiest thing I’ve ever said), but luckily the enthusiasm from Citizen picked up just enough that the knockout with the dark wavy hair I was with didn’t have to care (she didn’t actually have wavy hair but who gives a fuck). A couple of more nostalgic trips including “D’Artagnan’s Theme” and it was intermission time, which meant more Cope to come, which only excited my ass even more.
Round two broke out, you could imagine what he was going to start breaking out with. Boom! – “Hurricane Waters” in which I distinctly remember starting to hear the faint sounds of a crowd singing along. Eventually the crowd’s pleas and inappropriate banters were answered, and “Son’s Gonna Rise” started ringing as powerfully as an acoustic guitar can in a big-ass room like the Corona. Now he had everyone’s attention. “After that,” I was thinking, “the crowd’s gonna go back to being twats.” But no no no! Out came “Sideways.” Every word was sung in unison by the crowd so flawlessly that Clarence just walked away from the mic and played his guitar. Montreal had finally come out to a Citizen Cope Concert. I had shivers I tells ya, shivers.
This was a special night. Old songs, brand new, completely unreleased songs (the names of which I can’t remember, sue me), and as we came to the end, one particular tune had been begged for all evening. If any of you reading have ever seen the movie Accepted, starring Justin Long, you might remember a particular jam by the name of “Let the Drummer Kick.” I’ve been quoting song titles throughout this review; allow me to quote the man himself now. “I wasn’t gonna play this one cuz’ it’s not really an acoustic kinda song, but you guys have been so awesome.” Boom! – piano track hits over the PA and the drummer is apparently going to kick. “Yeah, I wasn’t gonna play this one. I just had the track all perfectly set up for nothing.” Sly ass motherfucker. Sing alongs, little jigs, and even a little unnecessary crowd surfing was had this evening. Two more encore songs rang out, and despite all the bullshit this really was a special night. Let me assure you, these feelings won’t go away.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography