After getting home last night from seeing the Black Eyed Peas perform, I had a thought (I know, strange right?). 8 years ago, it wouldn’t have been farfetched to see the Peas and Citizen Cope on the same bill. Back then, BEP was a crunchy, borderline-conscious “alternative” rap group and Cope was an upstart singer/songwriter. Flash forward 8 years, and the BEP are dance/pop behemoths with very little trace of the hip-hop flavor of their work pre-Fergie, while Cope is…the same as he ever was.
The Peas’ show was energetic-very much a production. Robot-outfitted dancers, futuristic light shows and glittery outfits. Definitely a spectacle made for arenas. I can’t really knock them for what they do-they do it well. It was a fun show-I’d compare it to a fun night at a club-a very, very loud and crowded club. The Peas did all their hits, from “Where is the Love” to current single “Imma Be”, while also giving each member solo features. apl.de.ap and Taboo (AKA the Andrew Ridgeleys of the BEP) both did a song apiece. will.i.am did an absolutely embarrassing freestyle rap and then a short DJ set, while Fergie (who may be ugly as sin, but even I’ll admit that she has one hell of a voice) treated us to three songs from her multi-platinum solo album, even bringing out opening act Ludacris for a performance of “Glamorous”.
I felt much more at home, and much more invested, the previous night at the Citizen Cope show. The DC-based soul/rock hybrid has been a favorite of mine for years, and this was my first opportunity to see him live. While not possessing the name value of the Peas, he’s enough of a name to have sold out The Paradise Rock Club for three nights. Although the crowd was a little too yuppie/frat boy for my taste (Cope sort of straddles the line between neo-soul and the DMB/Jack Johnson-esque sound), Cope delivered a solid 90-minute set featuring all of his popular songs and a healthy sampling of songs from his new album, “The Rainwater LP”. He was in great voice throughout, his band was funky as hell, and while Cope doesn’t have a hell of a lot of stage presence, he was very appreciative to the crowd and even hung out after the set to shake hands.
Two vastly different shows, but both were entertaining in their own way. Black Eyed Peas were good for the spectacle, while Citizen Cope offered musical sustenance. Not a bad way to pass two nights in Beantown, that’s for sure.