City and Colour
House of Blues
January 19, 2016
I underestimated City and Colour.
Nearly eight years ago, when Starbucks was giving out those Pick of the Week cards that provided customers with free downloadable songs, I heard a sweet yet sorrowful ballad called “The Girl.” I played it countless times over but never delved any deeper into Canadian singer-songwriter Dallas Green’s catalog. And that was a mistake.
From the epic, 10-minute opener “Woman” to the encore – which included “The Girl” and a few other tracks from 2008’s breakthrough album Bring Me Your Love – City and Colour filled House of Blues Tuesday night with nearly two hours of weighty lyricism, atmospheric prog-rock and even a few acoustic tunes, all the while persuading the sold-out crowd to behave itself. For the most part, at least.
The show began with an air of melancholy feel as City and Colour sauntered through six songs before even addressing the crowd. But once fans had collectively gathered in the palm of his hand, Green upended the mood with a simple question: “How does everyone here feel about Dwight Howard? For anyone who’s on the fence, this song is for you.”
He then performed “Wasted Love” and followed it with “Lover Come Back,” which he dedicated to the Houston Rockets’ recently departed head coach, Kevin McHale.
The rest of City and Colour’s set list was rounded out with songs about things working themselves out eventually, about staying up too late, about dying and being cremated, and about venting your frustrations on Twitter when artists don’t perform the songs you came to hear.
Resuming the somber mood, Green began his encore with the story of a long stretch of highway right here in Texas that has been littered with the dead bodies of missing women, “Nowhere, Texas.” Strangely, as he sang of these areas in which people have been found dead, the crowd cheered at every mention of nearby cities, freeways and their home state. Perhaps their discussions during the song’s introduction distracted them from the story.
“I've got no destination, no place to call my own,” Green crooned during “Two Coins,” early on during his performance. “I’ll explore the constellations ‘til I find the course I mean to hold.”
Surely I’m not the first to suggest as much, but maybe the stage is Green’s home. And hopefully, it isn't quite so lonely up there when he’s surrounded by his four band mates and nearly 2,000 screaming fans in the audience.
It might not be the kind of love he’s been singing about for so many years, but it just might do in a pinch.
So How Was the Opener? The Greyhounds, who hail from Austin, regaled the crowd with 45-minutes of bluesy country-rock while an unnamed (and unmentioned) astronaut performed the robot in the background. During their set, my girlfriend leaned in and whispered in my ear, “I feel like this is the kind of band the Blues Brothers would want to be playing here.” I agreed.
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