City and Colour
Enmore Theatre, Sydney 05/04/2016
Review: Emily Swanson | Photos (Melbourne): Sarah Lay
There’s something innately reassuring about a City and Colour show. The warmth of the theatre, the familiar faces… You can safely go in expecting to be in awe of the performance and not be disappointed.
Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green has managed to find himself in Australia 15 times throughout his career, so on top of probably being entitled to a free trip, he’s familiarised himself with Australian audiences and us with him. Like a Ron Swanson canoe, Green has whittled his former side project into a fine vessel to showcase his songwriting nous and ethereal falsetto.
And you’ve got to hand it to him. Rather than dish up a stock-standard setlist night after night, there’s enough variety between City and Colour shows to actually warrant repeat visits. In 2016 seeing Dallas Green live means you’ll experience cuts from a whopping five albums, every release a more expansive and textured listen than the last.
Taking to the stage in his token felt fedora, it’s clear Green has slipped into an even more defined groove with City and Colour; what we witness is a full band setup rather than the show of a solo performer – the frontman doesn’t even stand centre stage.
With the latest incarnation of his live band (those behind recent studio album If I Should Go Before You) Green’s songs sound more fleshed out than ever; the nine-minute epic “Woman” taking fans on something of a Floydian trip with its hazy, sprawling guitars. It was only a few years earlier that we were in this very theatre watching Green debut a truly spine-tingling rendition of “O’ Sister” to an utterly transfixed crowd.
From newer tracks like “Killing Time” and “Wasted Love” to old faithfuls like “Waiting…” and “Hello, I’m In Delaware” – the latter of which made for an immensely tender moment in the set – 10 years of City and Colour come together remarkably well.
By the time the encore rolled around, a humble Green returned on his own to thank his crowd before gently beginning “Comin’ Home”, the unrivalled highlight of any City and Colour show in Sydney, even if only for the chance to beam at the singer’s mention of “Sydney to Halifax” (yes, yes we all know it’s the Canadian Sydney, but he delivers it with a smile and we like to think he lets us have this one).
Long-standing Alexisonfire fans were then quickly rewarded with a hint of “This Could Be Anywhere In The World”, the first single from the band’s 2006 breakthrough album Crisis. A small kick in the teeth to AOF fans who attended the Monday show, sure, but a moment that was cherished by all in attendance nonetheless.
The rest of the band returned to the stage midway through fan favourite “The Girl” before rounding out the night’s proceedings with “Sorrowing Man”, Green’s powerfully haunting last chorus staying with us long after the house lights came on. And with that, City and Colour was gone. But the real question is – for how long?