Wednesday, January 14, 2009

City & Colour @ Bowery Ballroom 1/13/09

Last night I was back down at the Bowery Ballroom to see City & Colour. I was lucky enough to score a last minute ticket to the sold out show yesterday, so I was pretty excited to see this performance. As I referenced in another post, I had only seen City & Colour ( specifically Dallas Green) once before, last year when he opened for Tegan & Sara at Terminal 5. At that time I wasn't familiar with his music so I've had some catching up to do over the last six months.

I had a pretty good idea what I'd be in store for, based on his solo-acoustic opening slot, but I was actually kind of surprised when he (they) came out on stage. This time Dallas brought three friends along to support him with guitar, bass and drums and Dallas even strapped on the electric guitar for the first four or five songs. This definitely gave many of the songs a different (stronger) sound than a lot of his recorded material, the bass and drums really drove the songs and layered with Dallas' voice, the songs had a great, heavy groove to them.

They ripped through this portion of the set pretty quickly except for pausing for a minute when some guy heckled Dallas from the crowd, I couldn't hear what he said exactly but I think it was something about high ticket prices, blah, blah, blah. Dallas replied with a, "Do you really want to talk about this now?....if you're upset, there are a couple brightly lit orange exit signs in the back of the room", which got a nice set of applause from the rest of the crowd.

The highlight of the show for me would be the middle of the set, which consisted of the "Crowd Participation" section where Dallas asked the crowd to jump in and help on backing vocals for three songs, "Sleeping Sickness", "Constant Knot", & "The Girl". "Sleeping Sickness" was the song I was most looking forward to hearing and it didn't disappoint at all. The acoustic version on the album is great but it's even better live with the full band, everything clicking together. They were also able to really accentuate that pause right before the chorus and it just sounded awesome. "Constant Knot" was very cool too, Dallas let the crowd take the chorus at the end and sing alone as the band played the backing music. "The Girl" has that great tempo change about half way through where the song really kicks in, very cool to hear live.

A bit later in the show we were treated to a solo-acoustic cover of the late 70s song, "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" by Rose Royce (although it's been covered by other artists like Madonna). The rest of the band rejoined Dallas to complete the set and close out the show.

During the performance, there were some great harmonies from the group but one thing kept sticking in my head. I'd say at least five or six times last night that Dallas hit (and held) a note that reminded me of Jeff Buckley. I can't put my finger on it, obviously not the same (who is?) but something about the pitch and strength of his voice. I don't know a lot about Dallas' background but I'd be surprised if he didn't listen to Jeff growing up. I'd love to see him take a shot at covering a song like "Everybody Here Wants You", that would be really cool.

Overall, I was really impressed with the show and the entire band. Bowery Ballroom is such a great place to see a show that I'm rarely disappointed, you combine that with a great band with strong musicians and a powerful voice and you've got a recipe for a great night of music. These guys are on tour in the US for a few more dates (heading to DC & Philly and then out west to California), really a good show if you can make it out........I'm glad I did.

A couple videos, courtesy of "pcimprezzive":



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