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Citizen Cope at the Fox Theatre - January 1, 2011

"Something is great about this one." The phrase buzzed around in my head, mixing with the endorphins that cracked and snapped about their different relays, telling me that I liked this music. This music is good. The beer in your hand is good.* You are loving this, aren't you? Aren't you?

Singer/Song Writer, Citizen Cope recently headlined in Towson's Recher Theatre, a large dimly lit room washed in blood red drapes. Two bars, bouncers at the door who think they're funny, an entrance covered in music posters: enough ambiance to make you dream of owning rooms filled with nothing but silk pillows and feathery boas. Brilliance -- all of it.

His music is simple to the point of being stripped down, as if bearing it all was the only way to get our attention. The Spartan band behind him was made up of a drummer, a bassist, two keyboardists, and Cope on guitar. A mix of hip-hop, folk, and blues his songs are mostly beats - mix bass drum, high hat, snare, clap track and repeat - buffed smooth by a haggard, road-weary voice. Uncommon chords for texture and keyboards for lift.

One Rolling Stone critic called him "a modern day bluesman who paints a plaintive portrait of the human condition." Another, not-so-friendly critic from music and culture website, SoundtheSirens said: "I'm sure there's some soulful guy with a guitar who can write better songs sitting in some coffee shop somewhere who deserves the exposure more than he does." This may be warranted, I just happen to disagree.

Good artists can recreate the high people get from good music -- that electricity that makes the crowd sway. After all, that heightened sense, so amazingly replicable across cultures, is what makes music a universal human constant. But the excitement that surrounds great artists -- painters, musicians, writers, and doers alike -- is that you as if you are in the presence of someone who is saying what no else is able to or willing to say. I felt the unsettling electricity in Cope's performance -- the feeling that I could not do this, nor would I ever want to. Who could bear being the only one for long? There's something great about this one.

This line of thinking is flawed. I argue that Citizen Cope is great, but that just makes him great to me. To you he could be anything or nothing. But he got a reaction out of me, a departure from normalcy that left me buzzing afterwards, and it's hard to find words that aren't useless contemplation. Words that avoid shameless worship to someone who does not want to be worshipped. But I knew I was doomed to fail when I started this.

Tickets are on sale at Fox Theatre Box Office. Call (303) 443-3399 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.foxtheatre.com.

$25 adv / $25 dos

Tickets On Sale – Friday December 17th!