The night was crisp, but not too cool. Nestled into the quiet hills of Hollywood, the picturesque Greek Amphitheatre was a perfect backdrop for Dallas Green’s alt-rock outfit, City and Colour. Disillusioned tales of quiet, personal turmoil and ill-fated love affairs are intensely relatable when told with Green’s evocative lyricism. The crystal-clear weaving of vocals over gentle, blues-infused rock is captivating and unshakeable. City and Colour is nothing short of breathtaking.
As I walked in, I listened to the crowd behind dispute what album he would feature tonight– a legitimate question when you have five solid albums to choose from. And for the most part, City and Colour fans have been in it since the beginning. Though they’ve been a favorite of mine since pre-college days, I’ve only ever seen them perform at festivals (like most of you, I’m guessing). Big mistake – their solo show exhibited the band’s dynamic versatility in a way I’ve never seen before.
Acoustic ballads began the evening, immediately showcasing Green’s impeccable vocal talent and storytelling skills. Some of my favorite moments of the opening drive were “Of Space and Time” and “Comin’ Home”– which are two very important songs for anybody who has moved away from home or left loved ones behind. Oh and he was about three songs in, Dallas was ~casually~ joined on stage by the legendary Ben Harper on slack key guitar. Must be nice to be a world class musicians and have other world class musician friends to hang with on stage.
As the wake of Harper’s appearance settled, the ethereal, heart-breaking “As Much As I Ever Could” began and Green’s otherworldly vocals soar in this pleading love-song-gone-wrong. The pace is heavy but methodical, allowing the emotion to build organically through the chorus. We hang on every heart wrenching word – “No, I am not where I belong”. As the song grew, things got loud. Louder than I’ve ever seen in any of the sunny afternoon sets at festivals – colour me impressed.
The band left Dallas on the stage with his guitar, a mic and a harmonica to deliver peaceful, stripped-down versions of “Body In A Box” and “Day Old Hate” before bringing Ben Harper back out for a life-changing duet of Harper’s “Another Lonely Day”. Although described by the duo as “winging it”, the performance was stirring and pretty dang flawless. Green lightened up the mood with crowd-favorite “We Found Each Other In The Dark”, which gave the date-night couples in the crowd the sing-a-long they had been waiting for patiently all night.
With the band back on stage, they got down to business once more on “Thirst”. This song was funky and electric with searing breakdowns reminiscent of Mute Math or even Radiohead’s rockier stuff. These unexpectedly beefy rock-out moments were my favorite parts night. The last song brough us back down to earth. With the slow-burning “Sorrowing Man”, Dallas Green’s cool veneer seemed to begin to crack with heartache. His soul was in these words – “Oh, how you have lost your way”. Ultimately the show ended on a high note with a brilliant encore featuring his biggest hit, “The Girl”. Another fun sing-a-long ensues and everybody leaves smiling.
There is a strange duality with Green’s music. In the same moment he reminds us of our worst heartache or most restless emotional turmoil, he provides something soothing. City and Colour will always be one of my favorite rainy day bands—they let you bask in your blues in the most beautiful way. To any City and Colour fan, don’t miss the chance to take in this marvelous performance. With several dates left across the country, you may have a chance. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Green will be headed into the studio soon to give us some new classics to lose ourselves in. For now, we’ll just bask in the light of this lovely evening at The Greek.
9/20 – Riot Fest Denver @ Sports Authority at Mile High in Denver, CO
10/25 – Coral Skies Music Festival at MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheatre in Tampa, FL
10/26 – Coral Skies Music Festival at Cruzan Ampitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
10/28 – Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA
10/29 – Iron City in Birmingham, AL
10/30 – Minglewood Hall in Memphis, TN
11/3 – Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, OK
11/5 – Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS
11/6 – Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie in Grand Prairie, TC
11/7 – Fun Fun Fun Festival in Austin, TX