City and Colour, which is the name Canadian singer/songwriter guitarist Dallas Green uses when recording and touring, made a stop at Boston’s House of Blues along with his current touring band. City and Colour began as an outlet for Green’s more personal and sensitive material while he was a member of hardcore rock band Alexisonfire. The once side-project turned into a full-time gig for the artist back in 2011.
The show kept to a tight timetable, perhaps due to the performance being streamed live on Yahoo, so opener Afie Jurvanen, known by his stage name Bahamas kicked off right at 7:00pm. Bahamas’ set was brief but entertaining, with him playing a six song set list which ended in the melodic “All the Time” which showcased Jurvanen’s vocal versatility.
After a quick stage reset, City and Colour dived right into their set at 8:00 pm sharp. The five member band, fronted by Green on electric guitar, were backlit by dozens of small single bulb lights which gave the appearance of a starry night. A slow instrumental buildup worked into a powerful version of “Woman,” a song off of their latest album If I Should Go Before You. The entire set list was a mix of new and old songs, the beginning of which was new song heavy, with four out of the first five songs all coming from If I Should Go Before You. The sixth song, a tribute to the project’s roots, “Hello, I’m In Delaware” was from the album Sometimes which was recorded while Green was still in Alexisonfire. The song, which is a mellower tune, emphasizes the evolution from an acoustic solo project to the more energetic indie-rock sound common in more recent City and Colour releases such as “Wasted Love” which the band headed into next.
As the song ended, the concert was abruptly interrupted when an audience member threw a drink onto the stage. As Dallas Green called out the crowd, many of whom were not aware at first of the incident, another beverage was launched at the stage. This allowed members of the audience and the band to pinpoint the perpetrator. “Get the fuck out of here, man,” said a deservedly upset Green, “I’ll give you your money back, too… you can have a free t-shirt on your way out, too, you fucking idiot.”
Green, a notoriously modest artist, addressed the crowd before continuing the show: “OK, so now that we’re through with this asshole, let me say something and I’ll say it because I got the microphone. Nobody in here is better or more important than anyone else, that’s including me or anyone else, so don’t fucking ruin it for the person beside you. Alright? If you want to be an asshole, go outside and be an asshole by yourself. Ok? And you can wait out there and we will come outside and talk to you afterwards. But don’t ruin the fucking show for other people.” Green then exclaimed “This is a motherfucking love song”, and the band continued on, first with “Lover Come Back” then followed by a song Green described as a song about everyone being nice to one another, “We Found Each Other In The Dark”. Impressive guitar solos by Green and guitarist Dante Schwebel were highlighted in many of the songs including “As Much As I Ever Could” a soulful piece that served as the last song played before the band’s encore.
Enthusiastic cheers by the crowd greeted Green as he headed back onto stage, blackened except for a single spotlight aimed at Green and his acoustic guitar. The melody of “Like Knives” off of album Sometimes flowed down across the audience. With all eyes on Green, his musical artistry shined, his captivating vocals paired perfectly with the intricate acoustic guitar strums. Green performed two more solo acoustic songs, including “Body In A Box” for which Green also broke out his harmonica. Less than halfway through the fourth encore song “Girl,” the audience erupted again in cheers as the band rejoined Green on stage to finish the song with him. As a finale, the band played “Hope For Now,” the hauntingly optimistic last track from the album Little Hell.
While City and Colour did not get the chance to see the best of Boston during their performance, they came in and delivered well above expectations. Green’s authentic writing style was executed brilliantly in a string of stirring performances song after song, culminating a well thought out and captivating show.
Photos by Richard Clarke