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I love a man with a good sense of humour, a penchant for poetry and a honey-soaked voice. Dallas Green, frontman of City And Colour, has all that in spades. Accompanied by his four-piece band, the Canadian singer-songwriter took to the majestic stage in the Sydney State Theatre to serenade fans with a decade worth of indie-folk tunes, and quite simply took our breath away.
On the promotional trail of his latest studio album, The Hurry And The Harm, City And Colour’s set list was rich with new, emotionally-charged songs like The Lonely Life and Of Space And Time, which ushered the show in. After a few swigs of his ever-present tableside scotch, Green wound back the clock to the heartbreaking times of album number three, Little Hell, and belted out The Grand Optimist and Weightless to a swooning crowd.
An early song request for The Girl was lodged by one young lad in the crowd, who clearly underestimated Green’s hearing abilities, and to that Green playfully retorted: “Do you usually open your Christmas presents the night before? If you’re only here for that song, you’re blowing it, man”.
Soon after, the band vacated the stage, leaving Dallas with nothing but his very capable vocal cords and acoustic guitar to entertain. Before dedicating the harmonica-led Body In A Box to his dad, and bringing girls to tears with the wistful Comin’ Home, he took a moment to marvel at his theatrical surroundings. “I’ve played in a lot of places in this world; most of them s**t holes. It goes with the rock territory, I guess,” he recounted. The house lights were flared so we too, could revel in the State Theatre’s glory.
All of a sudden it had become The Dallas Green Show, not only because he was performing solo, but because of his comical monologues. “I just spent 60 days in America… do you know how long that is?!” he bemoaned after playing Comin’ Home to a spellbound audience. “There wasn’t one night where in the quietest part of a song that some asshole didn’t scream ‘yiiiiiiieeeeeeeewwwww!’”
From that moment on, no-one dared ruin our shining reputation by interrupting songs with idiocy. When the band re-entered, picking up from an acoustic rendition of Paradise and layering their instruments over We Found Each Other In The Dark, Dallas politely introduced them one by one and gave us yet another warm delivery with the melodious Harder Than Stone.
The beauty of a theatre setting is not only in its aesthetic but also in the grand effect it has on its audience. An all-seated, well-mannered crowd and not a camera phone in sight is very hard to come by at rock concerts. Even Green was surprised by the civility of the crowd, urging them to break etiquette and sing and dance in the aisles, particularly to Sleeping Sickness and new single Thirst.
Crowd favourite Fragile Bird and the haunting vocals of Sorrowing Man finished up the first part of the set amidst a rush of bright lights and fuzzy distortion. Once the audience reeled City And Colour back on stage with their wolf whistles and floor-shaking stomps, the band wrapped it all up with The Girl, Green’s self-confessed favourite track Two Coins and the grand finale of Death’s Song.
And so, in the belly of the grand old State Theatre, in typically romantic fashion, the emotional ups and downs of a City And Colour set saw a happily-ever-after ending – the young lad got The Girl, and Dallas Green got the standing ovation he deserved.