It’s arguably hard to come across an artist who sounds the same (if not better) live, but I recently came across such an artist. His name is Dallas Green and his band is City and Colour. Originally from Alexisonfire, Green now has five studio albums under this solo alias and last night he took to the stage in Brighton for the first leg of his UK tour with Lucy Rose.
Having toured with City and Colour a couple of years back, Rose happily kicks off the evening with a generously long support slot and brings along with her a talented young band. Her Daughter-esque vocals are silky and gentle, maintaining a consistent performance packed full of indie-folk vibes. Dallas Green himself joins her onstage for one track and their voices entwine together fantastically and enhance the performance as a whole. It feels great to see a support act as well received as this. (4/5)
After a fast stage turnaround the lights are dimmed and City and Colour are welcomed by applause as the slow atmospheric build-up of ‘Woman’ fills the venue, with Green hitting the elongated notes with such precision that I have to mouth to myself, “holy shit.“ Perhaps not wanting to play the typical frontman act, the modest singer stands diagonally onstage, which is a small but touching detail. The set continues with songs of both new and old, including the beautiful title track from the most recent release, ‘If I Should Go Before You’. For an old fan, the sixth song is the most pleasant surprise as the gentle notes of one of Green’s earliest solo songs ‘Hello, I’m in Delaware’ entrances the room. “This song’s about dying,” Green says in the most casual manner as he introduces ‘Sleeping Sickness,’’ a macabre but somehow tender song aided by the comforting vocals.
After an impressive thirteen songs, the encore arrives. “Everyone get your phone out your pocket and hold it up… Okay, good… Now put it back in your pocket just for this song,” he tells us and proceeds to play ‘Body in a Box’, leading to a beautiful crowd sing-a-long and 3 technology-free minutes accompanied by a harmonica. This leads on to perhaps one of the sweetest songs in the world ‘The Girl’ before his band rejoin him for the finale, ‘Hope For Now’.
I won’t pretend I know much about the visual side of production in live music, but what I do know is that lighting is a rarely-mentioned aspect of performances. This however will not be the case for City and Colour as the constellation-esque lighting displays transported the whole performance, creating a long-winding road journey on a starry night, delivering right to the end and helping create the most beautiful soundscape. (5/5)
The evening was not simply a gig but was a completely immersive performance of true musicianship from Green and his fellow musicians. Not a note, chord or beat amiss, this (unsurprisingly) sold-out show set the bar alarmingly high for the standards of artists in this genre. The most beautiful night.
Words by Phoebe Messenger (@kangaezu_)