citizen cope

Citizen Cope performed on June 16 at Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge. 

After spending the day celebrating fathers and paternal figures, crowds gathered at Varsity Theatre to enjoy singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood, better known as Citizen Cope, as he served a concert that mixed blues, soul, folk and rock.

The concert officially kicked off at 8:40 p.m. as Citizen Cope stepped on stage and sang “Holdin’ On.” He followed with performances of “Let The Drummer and “Bullet and a Target,” some of his better known songs that feature alternative hip-hop, synths and protest-like lyrics.

The crowd screamed as Citizen Cope left the stage at 10:15, only to return and perform two finals songs for the encore — upbeat rock song “Brother Lee” and the melancholic “Sideways.” Even the audience members who seemed unfamiliar with his music appeared to enjoy his onstage charm.

Citizen Cope’s performance quickly tugged at newcomers’ musical heartstrings, said animal science junior Shelby Granier, who hadn’t listened to the performer before Sunday’s show.

“My sister told me about Citizen Cope,” Granier said. “I came with her to this concert because we don’t do that very often and I’m having a really good time. This band is capturing my heart. Every single song he sings I feel on an emotional level.”

The Memphis-born singer currently records and produces under his own record label Rainwater Recordings, which he founded in 2010 following his decision to no longer work with major labels. On March 1, he released his first album in six years, “Heroin and Helicopters.”

The Varsity is well-known for bringing alternative rock and indie acts like Citizen Cope as well as local musicians to the University area. Earlier this year, the venue hosted a blast-from-the-past performance with former Nickelodeon teen icon and musician Drake Bell. The venue also provides an avenue for LSU students who want to go into the music industry to gain hands-on experience.

“The Varsity has a wide range of acts,” LSU alumnus David Bankston said. “A lot of the big crowds we have are a lot of bigger metal and rock acts, but we have a wide variety from local to brass bands and country, indie, pop, all that type of stuff. I get to see tons of cool shows and it’s in the field I want to go to. I want to go in the music business — booking and managing events.”  

In addition to concerts, The Varsity hosts a variety of other events such as “Trivia on Tap” and the “LSU Science Café.” The Science Café is an on-going event that features speakers as it aims to increase inclusion in STEM fields.

Though they host non-music related events, the heart of Varsity Theatre lies in its ability to host a number of local and smaller acts that allow for an intimate experience in the venue. Citizen Cope, like many others acts at Varsity Theatre, can give audiences the experience of a more personable performance.

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