The only time I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Dallas Green perform live was the last two songs of his set at Leeds Festival 2013. Whoever decided to put Fall Out Boy and City and Colour on at the same time should question their judgement. I watched and re-watched the set on BBC iPlayer for weeks afterwards, regretting not seeing more of it. I was always too young to go and watch Alexisonfire play, so finally, on Monday 3rd February 2014, I got a chance to witness Dallas Green and his band perform songs from his illustrious career as, his significantly different project, City and Colour.
Canadian singer songwriter Hannah Georgas was City and Colour’s only support act. Her gorgeous vocals echoed beautifully through Bournemouth’s O2 Academy in a London Grammar-esque manner. Backed by synth based, dark tracking her vocals delicately sat on top of what turned out to be relatively heavy instrumental accompaniment. However, I couldn’t help finding her set rather banal, with no song introductions and only one mention of who she was, I was eager to see City and Colour more than ever. Undeniably her vocals were fantastic, but she was not necessarily a great act to warm the crowd.
City and Colour, consisting of Dallas and his four piece band, made up of a pedal steel guitarist/organist, bassist, drummer and lead guitarist, took to the stage and began with ‘Of Space and Time’ from 2013 album The Hurry and the Harm, needing little introduction Green immediately set the bar for the rest of the show extremely high. The two hour set never dipped in interest, I felt encapsulated throughout the entire set by Green’s soft yet commanding presence. As someone who was often associated with the thrashing crowds that came with Alexisonfire, it was a pleasure to see Dallas Green interacted with a doting crowd – minus the moshing – with everyone showing insane amounts of respect for the musician. Epitomising this was a moment when Green demanded the crowd brandish their phones in the air saying ‘Aw, doesn’t that look beautiful. Now put them in your pocket, just for three minutes, and lets share this moment, just me and you.’ Following this, showing off his dry humour, he said ‘And for that one dude that thinks he’s the only one making footage. You’re an arsehole.’ The crowd definitely appreciated being put in their place, and I’m sure they enjoyed the performance more without watching it through a phone screen.
The set ebbed and flowed in energy, just as it should for an act exuding this much musical variety. Effortlessly swaying between rock band grandiose to intimidate, acoustic brilliance and even flaunting country and blues influences throughout. It was amazing, with one constant factor throughout bringing it all together: Green’s stunning vocals.
Playing songs spanning from 2008’s Bring Me Your Love right up to 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm, Green and his band demonstrated musical brilliance. Some of my favourite moments from the set came from when the band would simply rock out, for example, ‘Thirst’, an infectiously catchy track with a powerful baseline, and perfectly executed in the live setting. However, Green demonstrated that he can shine equally bright when he’s going it alone. Just him and his guitar, and at one point donning the harmonica to perform the heart wrenching ‘Body in a Box’. For nostalgia’s sake the performance of older tracks had a special edge, in particular, finishing the initial part of the set with consecutive performances of two classics, ‘Fragile Bird’ and ‘Sorrowing Man’. Following this the foot stomping and insane amount of noise began from the adoring crowd demanding more, impressive considering it was not a sold out show.
The encore, having nabbed a set list after the show, consisted of just a ‘…’. And I couldn’t have been happier with the songs they decided the perform. Just Green returned to the stage to perform my favourite track by City and Colour, ‘The Girl’, one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the entire show occurred. With the rest off the band joining him for the up tempo latter half of the song, it was spectacular. Following this they played ‘Two Coins’, and as Green stated, it was because a member of the crowd had yelled it at him a few seconds before. Finishing the set with ‘Death Song’ from The Hurry and the Harm was the perfect end to the set. I left the venue an even bigger fan of City and Colour.