Citizen Cope (Knitting Factory – Boise) – 3/18/19

Good vibes and good times on a Monday night before Treefort comes to town.

Opener: David Ramirez

Sure, Cope is fine and all, but I was here to see David Ramirez.  When he came onstage by himself, I was a bit surprised as I had assumed he would have a band behind him.  What could have been a disappointment turned out to be a show-stealing performance, as David captivated the audience as he went back and forth between his electric and acoustic guitars (and just one amp behind him).


After a fantastic rendition of the smart and scathing reflection on today’s America that is “Stone Age”, David joked that he wrote that “sweet love song for our country”.  That terrific song features a few lyrical gems: “funny how the future is looking more like the stone age, we’re building walls, shaking guns, painting the streets with blood”, “our fathers were drinkers, cuz we shipped them off to war; and I’m drunk on a Tuesday, cuz I’m just so fucking bored”, and “honey do you mind if I move in with you, while my fellow patriots work out civil war two”.

The highlight of the night was his acoustic version of “Twins”, his lament on this country’s lost innocence (and freedom) after the 9/11 attacks – complete with some nice harmonica work.  My buddy joked that this would probably not be used as a campaign rally song anytime soon: “where were you when, we lost the twins; where were you when, the fear settled in; where were you when, you swore you’d never forget… there she goes, goodbye America.”

David gave some love to my favorite Boise bar, The Neurolux, calling it one of his five favorite bars in the country, adding “I don’t know much about Boise, but The Neurolux tells me you’re doing something right”.  Before his last song, “Find the Light”, he explained that he wrote it after his mother implored him to write something hopeful and positive, and says it is now one of his favorites to play.

After the set David was gracious enough to take a picture and have a chat with myself and a friend, telling us about the day of the photo shoot for his latest album cover – long story short, two elderly relatives of a friend of his donning “teenager’s clothes” and standing atop a car.  Hopefully he will come back for a headlining show soon, and if he does, don’t miss it.  He played a couple songs that I couldn’t identify, but here is a partial setlist…

Spotify setlist playlist link:


Headliner: Citizen Cope

Somehow Clarence Greenwood is 50 years old.  I am not sure how that happened, and I can only hope I look as good as homeboy does when I turn fifty.  Everyone remembers the first couple of records from the early 21st century, and while those are still his best works he and his band mixed in a sampling of old and new and kept the crowd fully engaged for their ninety minutes.  The band consists of two keyboard/piano players (one of them plays guitar as well), a DJ, drummer, bass player, and Clarence doing his thing on acoustic, electric, or no guitar.


Also, side note: the man was rocking a killer duster jacket, and the gal behind me made an Always Sunny In Philadelphia reference that made my evening.


We heard several songs from their newest album, Heroin and Helicopters, and Clarence explained the album title: back when he met Carlos Santana years ago, the legend told him that no matter what else he does, avoid the two Hs – heroin and helicopters.  Those are very bad for musicians, Carlos informed him, and Clarence never forgot that moment.

“Justice” and “The River” from that new album sounded great, even if some of the others were some of the weaker portions of the night.  But every time a song or two would get the crowd relaxed, here would come another crowd pleaser: “Bullet and a Target”, “Let the Drummer Kick”, “Sun’s Gonna Rise”, “Sideways”.  That last song has always been my favorite of his, and on this night it had a particular poignancy for me when Clarence crooned that “these feelings won’t go away, they been knockin’ me sideways; I keep thinking in a moment that, time will take them away, but these feelings won’t go away”.  All in all this was a terrific evening of live music and good times with friends, and a perfect warmup for what will be a wild Treefort weekend.