Live at Brudenell Social Club on Sunday, 6th April 2008
City And Colour are a curious act to find in a place like this. To think that a member of an internationally renowned screamo outfit would bring his solo acoustic tour to the Brudenell sounds absolutely ludicrous. But when you consider that City And Colour's latest album 'Bring Me Your Love' owes more to artists like Neil Young than any of today's rock and metal bands. First up though are Attack In Black, a Canadian indie-rock four piece replete with angular punk riffs, beards and tight jeans. That isn't to say that AIB are in any way a fashion band. Their songwriting skills are apparent for much of their set, although they are occasionally dropped in favor of discordant jams; theirs was a solid set.
Half of the band actually return for the main event, making up Dallas Green's backing band as City And Colour, expanding on the solo effort for 2005's 'Sometimes' album. Opener ' Forgive Me' and follow up 'Confessions' gently ease the crowd into the set, for those accustomed to Dallas' Firebrand guitar lines in Alexisonfire, the likes of harmonica-led 'Body In a Box' and current single 'Waiting' might come as a bit of a shock. Not hat you'd notice of course, as the crowd listens tentatively during songs, before suddenly coming alive to roar approval in between. And it's in between songs where the biggest surprises lay. Everyone knows what an enormous talent the man is, his skills as a songwriter are undoubted, but his skills as a performer become apparent tonight. The man is hilarious, polar opposite to the persona he paints for himself with his music. 'Bring Me Your Love' is the kind of album that the he himself might call 'sad', recurring themes being death, insomnia, alcoholism and... more death. But it's the way he presents his views that sets Dallas Green apart. Eschewing singer-songwriter pandering, Dallas simply lays it out there and walks away, leaving the audience to take what they will, meaning a song like 'Comin' Home' could be taken as a paean to his adventures or an admission of loneliness, depending on how you look at it. A couple of cover versions are rolled out in the shape of 'Boiled Frogs' (originally by Dallas' other band), and Rose Royce's 'Love Don't Live Here Anymore' get the crowd a little more involved. The call and response chorus of the former ignites the crowds vocal chords, although Dallas is less impressed, "that was like 13 of you singing" he quips.
The man's connection with his audience is astounding. If the show tonight leaves one impression (besides the watertight musicianship and solid gold songs), it's that Dallas Green is just like us. He's unassuming, insecure, and no more or less fucked up than the rest of us. And it's that connection that he shares with his audience that makes a City And Colour show something special.