City & Colour - Live Review
Lucy Rose and her humble band of musicians delivered a sophisticated style of folk, blended with a vulnerable petite vocal layered pleasantly on top. It was the sonic equivalent of looking at a scenic view across the River Avon, Lucy’s home county. If the previous image didn’t conjure up the blissfully sweet music Lucy Rose performed to warm up the people, then imagine a freshly made pot of tea with a hint of Earl Grey. It was England through and through, and it was ever so graceful to boot. I mention the tea because any newcomer won’t know that Lucy sells jams, chutneys and her own personalised tea alongside her music. It’s the tender touches and the unique thinking that makes her heartfelt, not just her music.
The Albert Hall sold out as soon as City & Colour announced his gig in Manchester, and even with the rescheduled early start time [due to a Chase & Status gig later that night] the place was heaving by the time Lucy Rose got into the swing of things. There was a 'night at the proms' vibe to the occasion. It felt special, like there was a true audience and not just a crowd. There was respect from each person shown towards the artists as they performed their art.
Dallas Green was an amazing man. He performed the hooks in Alexisonfire, the post-hardcore band that went down in history as being one of the all time greats. Dallas Green was an amazing man, but now I’d consider him exceptional. Those people who have seen City & Colour know exactly what I’m talking about. Dallas steps on stage and you notice. You become enthralled with his vocal style, so much so that you forget the man is playing a guitar. The sound was perfect for the environment, Albert Hall can be such an eclectic venue but it’s the music that sets the atmosphere for the venue, not the other way around. From Woman to his title track If I Should Go Before You the ensemble captivated the onlookers. The balconies were mesmerised by the talent oozing from the band. The merch guy knew the audience would be fascinated by Dallas, he was confident enough to sneak off for a quick piss, knowing that City & Colour’s pull was too strong for anyone to turn away, and he was accurate in his thinking. Dallas Green’s set consisted of tracks from all five studio albums though the majority were from his latest record and sounded more developed, with sensuous guitar licks alongside the instantly recognisable vocal.
I had noticed a tweet before the show hoping that We Found Each Other In The Dark would be played, from a loving couple who selected the song as their first dance at their wedding, and whether it was deliberate or not, their wish was fulfilled magnificently. My own personal highlight was Sleeping Sickness as it’s a song I grew up loving and listened to frequently, so it was incredible to hear it live.
The band left the stage for the encore, and Dallas played Body In A Box and Northern Wind with the addition of a harmonica. If you weren’t captivated before this point, then he scrawled it in permanent ink across your forehead with these immaculate renditions, metaphorically speaking of course. Dallas dared the audience to put their phones away for The Girl so they could get drunk on the atmosphere, and it sparked a huge sing along. It was the moment of the night for hundreds of people, all singing along in unison. The band re-emerged for the climactic crescendo and completed the night with Hope For Now before the capacity crowd spilled out onto the streets, drunk on the poetic music of City & Colour.
Words: Tom Blackwell / Photos: Wendy Keogh