Citizen Cope Shines at The Canyon in Santa Clarita

By Julian MITCHELL, intern

Citizen Cope (a.k.a. Clarence Greenwood) is one of the most popular underground artists of the 21st century. Although he has 600,000 monthly listeners and songs with over 20 million listens on Spotify, it is more likely to see a ghost this October than meet a Citizen Cope fan.

Having only released four albums since his 2002 self-titled debut, it is understandable why many people do not know about Citizen Cope. It’s even more understandable when one factors in that he typically only tours the east coast. Luckily for those who are in the know, Citizen Cope made the unexpected journey out west, touring parts of California and Hawaii.

The tour serves as support for his upcoming album, “Heroin and Helicopters,” the two “Hs” that collaborator Carlos Santana told him to stay away from.

Naturally, not everyone can go to Hawaii, myself being one of those people. Fortunately, The Canyon in the Westfield Valencia Town Center is much closer.

The Canyon is on the outer edge of the huge shopping center in Santa Clarita, only about five minutes from the Golden State (5) Freeway. The venue feels as if a comedy club was superimposed over an old Red Robin eatery, which was what the venue actually was prior to becoming a music hall. Similarly, The Rose in Pasadena, one of four sister venues to The Canyon, is set in an old Gelson’s Market.

For an artist like Citizen Cope, this lounge experience works very well. On Saturday, Oct. 13, it was obvious he loved playing to a crowd that knew every one of his songs. He seemed to love annoying his hecklers even more.

“I’m a type of person who naturally is contrary,” said Citizen Cope as he reared up for another brief story, despite the cries from those same hecklers.

Citizen Cope did play more, of course. In fact he played for two-and-a-half hours, one of the lengthier concert experiences I have been to. I couldn’t have been happier.

Citizen Cope stood back and watched as the whole room sang along to one of his old hits, “Son’s Gonna Rise,” a song that garnered him some mainstream media attention as the album version featured a guitar solo from Carlos Santana.

He also delighted the crowd by playing requests, including a hidden track off his first album titled “Mandy.” Before gracing the audience with the tune, he said that Saturday’s performance of it would only be the third time he’s played it since the release of the album 16 years prior. Being unsatisfied with how the song ended up in post-production, he strayed from playing it most nights.

Seeing Citizen Cope perform live is like seeing a blue whale; it doesn’t happen often but you know that, when you see it, it’s going to be special and something remembered forever.

I cannot recommend enough seeing Citizen Cope live if given the chance. Definitely give his music a listen. His new album “Heroin and Helicopters” releases in March 2019.