Written by Samuel Barker
May 26, 2005 at 08:00 PM
ImageWalking into the smokey confines of the Meridian’s Red Room feels like walking into the scene of a basement party. A long, slender room filled with bodies holding up drinks listening to some folks lay down a soulful jam.This is where Citizen Cope fits in perfectly. Cope isn’t flamboyant, Cope isn’t trying to blow anyone away with a rock star edge, Cope is just bringing the party to you the only way he knows how. With his acoustic strapped on and a solid band at his back, Cope brought his mix of folk and soul to the audience who responded with drinks raised and spirits high, letting the beats lead them through the dark room to the warm redeeming glow of the stage.

Coming but 4 months earlier with Marc Broussard, Cope showed he had the flow needed to carry an audience into the wee hours of the night with his songs, but with an audience full of Broussard’s fans, Cope never got the chance to pull everyone in. On this night, Cope’s people were in the audience and they came to let go.

ImageWhile Cope is getting some strong exposure due to his song Son’s Gonna Shine hitting the airwaves via a Pontiac commercial, it is hard to see how the laid back house party vibe of his shows could relate to an audience much larger than this one.

Call me selfish, but I wouldn’t want to see it, so maybe that’s why I can’t. Cope is best listened to in the smoke filled setting with a house party vibe where the drinks flow and people can their heads swaying without security on them or the masses making the night into what it shouldn’t be. The sound and vibe of Cope is too pure for that.

Of course, a bump up to the main room at the Meridian could do Cope some good. Fill the house with more people looking to party and just dance together. No $6 beers, no barricade at the stage, no separation. Just the music flowing through the audience from the stage. The way Cope translates best: from his guitar and mouth to your ears and soul.