City & Colour

with Husky & Twin Forks

First thing’s first, a City and Colour show is a concert, not a gig. The reason I point that out right at the start is because it is in every way very traditional. It reminded me a little of the first musical shows I ever saw, in school sitting in seats and admiring musical ability, rather than drinking and sweating on strangers as many gigs nowadays consist of.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the aforementioned. It’s just a nice change of pace to go along to a show and get the chance to really sit back (literally) and enjoy musical prowess the likes of which I have never seen before. City and Colour is all about Dallas Green. Onstage he makes the performance feel very much like a band is playing to us, however he’s essentially still a solo artist.

After support acts Twin Forks and Husky played to a sparser Sidney Myer Music Bowl on a cooler summers evening in Melbourne, right on time Dallas and his gang of merry men ambled onstage to a rapturous applause. From the first line, “There’s a murder of crows” Green’s voice was exceptionally striking. I have never noticed such a substantial difference between a vocalist’s recorded sound and their live voice. Green’s voice up close and in the flesh is simply breathtaking.

The amazing thing is that fans and casual observers alike would agree that Green’s voice is a treat on the City and Colour albums, however in person you realise that his studio performances aren’t even a patch on his live versions. There’s rawness yet at the same time perfection to his vocal ability. Combine that with added emotion and the ability to make a ten thousand capacity venue feel intimate and you’ve got all the ingredients for an incredible night of music before you even think about the instrumentation.

The guitar chops of Green and musical ability of his supporting cast was enviable to say the least. Just over three quarters of the nearly two hour set was the full band on stage, while four songs in the middle saw Green isolated on the stage, often with just a spotlight to illuminate his body on the shadowy amphitheatre stage.

‘Body in a Box’ proving the highlight for me from among his solo session. While the full band never felt very rock’n’roll the solo bracket did contrast the rest of the evening nicely.

Known for his aversion to technology at shows, Green asked everyone to get their phones out and wave them in the air before instructing us to put them in our pockets. Thus creating a moment that would be shared just by those in attendance, no one else; a secret if you will. His playfully sarcastic comments lit up a humorous side of the man not often seen.

The amazing ‘Girl’ formed the opening song of the encore and was just that; amazing. Green played the opening part of the number by himself before being joined onstage by his band mates to play the up tempo ending.

Although twenty songs were played on the evening I have chosen to speak more about the experience than highlight individual tracks as I feel that was what was more striking about the evening. Given that everyone was sitting down apart from the last five or so songs, it is credit to Green and his touring companions that songs never felt to similar, too familiar or ever seemed to bleed together. The evening was compelling, and an absolute pleasure to listen to.

This for me was one of those musical experiences that you know at the time you will remember back on it fondly for the remainder of your existence. To be able to have that effect on just one person out of several thousand on the other side of the planet is truly something special. However I can’t imagine I was the only one by any means.
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