Born from the ashes of the post-hardcore Alexisonfire, City and Colour has grown above and beyond anything Dallas Green’s ‘side project’ had probably anticipated. Since 2005, he has released four successful LPs, toured the world on more than one occasion, and is generally seen as a bit of an icon to those who remember him from his time with Alexisonfire and the early days of City and Colour. Last night he played to a sold out crowd the Eventim (Hammersmith) Apollo, and I was lucky enough to attend.
Personally, and for many others I’m sure, their is a wonderful nostalgia factor connected with this show. I have only ever seen Dallas Green once in my life, but I was working out my teen angst in a mosh pit somewhere, so I feel as though both Dallas and I have both grown since then. But before all that, fellow-Canadian Hannah Georgas wets the audience appetite with a lovely blend of sweet, hooky and emotive pop. Shortie was the highlight of her set, vocally reminiscent of Feist and a delightfully upbeat way to forget all the emotions the next couple of hours would bring. Georgas is playing this years Great Escape Festival, so definitely another artist to check out if you’re heading down.
No matter what you say, their are few people cooler than Dallas Green. Clad in waistcoat and matching hat, he opens with Of Space and Time off of his 2013 release The Hurry and the Harm. Vocally, Green is flawless, every note reverberating around the venue as if it had been ripped straight off the record. Although City and Colour’s overall style has developed over the last 8 years, Green’s harmonious vocal talents are so distinctive that it’s hard not to feel a little emotional throughout the whole set. There is a sense of familiarity with each song, despite not knowing any of the lyrics; whether that’s because the themes of lost love, lost youth and missing home are ever present, or the fact that I haven’t listened to much City and Colour since my own lost youth, I don’t know.
The band are equally flawless, but it’s hard to not think the music isn’t all about Dallas Green, even if he insists it’s not. He is very humble, but it’s clear he is a man who knows exactly what what he wants, for example asking the audience to put away their recording devices during a gorgeously executed acoustic cover of Alexisonfire’s Boiled Frogs. He also is continuously frustrated by audience heckling. Comin’ Home, Fragile Bird and The Girl heralded the biggest sing-a-long moments, understandably, but it was surprising not to hear the title song off the new record or a couple of his more popular numbers; it was definitely a setlist for serious fans, not casual on/off listeners like myself. I was most intrigued when he appeared alone onstage with just a guitar and harmonica, hoping for one or two older numbers from his now Platinum selling Sometimes, which is exclusively acoustic and exclusively gut wrenching.
With moments of wistful contemplation, side by side with dramatic crescendos and mind blowing moments, Dallas has everyone under his spell. It has created a pleasant overall atmosphere, everyone completely immersed in what band are producing. You don’t need to be a diehard fan to be able to reflect of the self deprecation of the lyrics or appreciate the intricacy of the music, it’s about the time, the place and appreciating the moment, which is what Dallas has been trying to say all along.