The last time Citizen Cope came through Vancouver, he performed at a small club. He was dubbed the "headliner" but there weren't any other acts for him to reign over. Before he took the stage simply spun a Bob Marley compilation, which kept the eager crowd at bay. This time was different though. Cope performed for an audience with a couple hundred more members atop larger stage.
David Ryan Harris couldn't make it across the border and so Marc Broussard's guitarist opened up the mellow crowd; the performance allowed early attendees the opportunity to drink with essentially background music. Though he did perform well, his on-stage presence didn't draw much of a reaction.
Marc Broussard and his group followed, commanding the largest response of the night. Initially his music failed to have me engrossed. Though his stage presence and energy was strong, his set began with a tacky feeling due to of "Rock Steady" ("When I get there / You better be ready - to rock steady...").
However, Marc's personality drew a huge response. His compelling energy as he broke into diverse, deeper tracks such as "The Beauty of Who You Are" and "The Wanderer," caused those unfamiliar with his material (myself being one) to befriend the material and resulted in us thoroughly enjoying what would be the highlight of the night. Broussard even broke out a shocking rendition of Mystikal's "Shake Ya Ass," imitating the hook with his live band simulating the beat.
Citizen Cope came to the stage last, drawing a powerful roar from the crowd. Those who had recently jumped on the bandwagon (seeing Cope for the first time) were eager to hear what the word of mouth star was capable of.
Due to the excitable energy of Marc Broussard's performance, the tone drastically changed. "Sideways," "Bullet And A Target" and "Pablo Picasso" are all excellent tracks, but the pumped up vibe Broussard had created left many feeling let down. Even though they were aware of Cope's musical style.
It seemed that in contrast with his November '04 performance, this time Citizen Cope was less motivated. His relaxed demeanor mirrored that of his past, but he became easily irritated at the less than perfect sound set up his band had been provided with. Various errors occurred along the way, especially during his encore in which he stopped his most well-known track, "Salvation" several times after beginning to sing because he couldn't hit the right note on his guitar. His angered facial expression and continually indiscreet gestures towards sound engineers left his audience un-nerved and un-impressed.
All in all, the show wasn't bad, but it was a disappointment. Cope seemed more intimidated than flattered and became noticeably angrier, rather than acting professionally. He left many otherwise enthusiastic followers of his more inclined to simply play his CD's than visit him live again.
* All photos taken by Hugo Lunny. Not to be reproduced without discussed consent.