Live Review: City and Colour @ The Roundhouse 18/10

My first time at The Roundhouse and the first time I've seen Dallas Green under his moniker, City and Colour - I saw him in his post-harcore rock outfit, Alexisonfire, twice when they were together -and I just want to tell you all now, this was one of the best gigs i've ever been to.

It was to some surprise when Dallas Green began City and Colour back in 2004 after fronting the 'screamo' rock band, Alexisonfire, however having had huge success in his native Canada, the recent interest and buzz around him in the UK and Europe is really starting to rise. The two bands couldn't be more different, but after his performance last night, it's clear to see he has a very special talent in whatever aspect he performs in.

I arrived at the sold out venue and entered a room full of teenagers and early twenty-somethings slumped against walls and pillers, barely interested in the support act on stage (Hanni El Khatib). It was obvious these people had come to see one band, and one band only, and they weren't wasting precious energy standing up, until they appeared.

From start to end (an impressive hour and a half), Dallas' vocals seemed to own the space like nothing I have ever seen before. But he didn't do this through arrogance or gallavanting frantically around the stage, that's not his style. His voice was all he needed. At times, the room was silenced by the sheer awe and captivation of Green's voice. Every utterance was phenomenal, his diction astoundingly clear and technically accomplished. Each vocal line he finished was left trailing and reverberating off into the atmosphere and I just wanted to bottle that feeling of total awe right there and then.

Dallas and his band, a cowboy-esque looking quartet, opened the show with We found Each Other In The Dark, from their new album, and went on to play a surprisingly pleasing mix of old and new tracks including those from Sometimes, Bring Me Your Love and Little Hell, which was realeased in June of this year.

Thoughout the set, Dallas became more comfortable with the crowd, casually chatting and joking and about half-way in, created something beautiful. "I'm gunna ask you guys to do me a favour...can you all just put away your cell phones or cameras, just for this song..". He explained that he wanted people to actually watch the performance, listen to the song and remember that moment instead of watching "some shitty version of it tomorrow!". The crowd screamed and cheered, and Dallas finished his little speech by saying, "Just cos you can film everything, doesn't mean ya have to, ya know?". And for about 4 minutes during Body In A Box, there were no flashes, no restricted views - just pure concentration, enjoyment and absorbtion of the music. It was amazing. This actually carried on for most of the night, with Green's will reigning over.

As the night went on, Green's vocals didn't let up. He soared through tracks such as As Much As I Ever Could, Sorrowing Man and The Girl with ease and finesse; some songs obviously extremely demanding, but brimming with emotion, his voice sounded as good - if not better- than his recordings. I just couldn't keep my eyes off him (I occasionlly had to physically shut my mouth as I'd reaslied it was wide open in total amazement). I mean, I don't want to go on - but fuck me, he's good!

Tracks from the new album were definitely well received although, following on from a slightly Country influenced new album (remember the cowboy-looking band), these little embellishments seemed to permeate and find their way into some of the songs from previous albums which I didn't like. I also overheard a few people say the same, so it wasn't just me being picky. There were additions of slide guitar here and lap-steel guitars there, as well as some definite country-style rhythms on the drums. But that said, the band were excellent. Between them they produced some enchanting harmonies and a guitar solo or two. In essence, imagine the records, but a million times better because of the live aspect. Clever pauses, builds and explosive climaxes just made everything so amazingly worth it.

A personal favourite of mine was As Much As You Ever Could; it was totally brought alive by the band. The arrangement of the song, and ultimately, the real power and sensitivity was heightened by the massive anthemic chorus hook of "Bring me your love, tonight", echoing throughout the room. It was spectacular.

After a quick wee break, Dallas hurried back on stage alone to perform his encore with some truely mesmerising renditions of Comin' Home and Sometimes (I Wish). For that hour and a half, City and Colour had managed to hold everyone's attention. Every word sung, was meant. I couldn't say a bad thing about it, really (despite standing in puddles of miscellanious liquids most of the night). But it was quite heart-warming to know that people still respond to real music. It's not all autotune and synths. You don't always have to rock out or dance the night away (this was probably the most still i've stood at a gig ever), because when the songs and performances are that good, they can stand on their own. This was authenticity at its best.

Full set-list...I think?

  • We Found Each Other In The Dark
  • Death Of Me
  • Waiting
  • The Grand Optimist
  • As Much As I Ever Could (Extended Version)
  • Weightless
  • Body in A Box
  • What Makes A Man
  • The Girl
  • Little Hell
  • Sleeping Sickness
  • Fragile Bird
  • Sorrowing Man


  • Comin' Home
  • Sometimes (I wish)