LIVE REVIEW: City and Colour, Lucy Rose, The Troxy, London, 28/02/2016
In the middle of the rows of cluttered shops – sticking out like a real tan in Essex – is the Troxy Theatre in Limehouse, London. This diamond in the rough, art deco theatre really is such a special venue and tonight it couldn’t match its host, City and Colour, more beautifully.
There’s a sense of maturity in the air as soon as we enter and we don’t mean that just because 90% of the men have beards. Facial hair aside the vibe is mellow and everyone is clearly here to experience the gentle lull of Dallas Green and his guitar. The beers are overpriced but it’s worth it to stand in the breathtaking interior of this Great Gatsby treasure cove. Who needs Leo Dicapprio when we’re about to have Dallas? (Be still our beating hearts.)
Support act Lucy Rose is first to take the stage with her band of hipster men. Fresh faced and wide eyed like she can’t believe she’s here, it’s quite adorable. The first half of her set is like wanting mint choc chip on a hot summers day and being told they only have vanilla and you’re like “oh ok, that’ll do.” The whole thing lacked flavour. There’s no denying the beauty of her voice, which echoed off the 1920’s ceilings in an elegant fashion. The crowd were pleased, but we couldn’t help find ourself a little bored of the humble “look at just me and my guitar playing to all these people.” A talented musician in her own right, her effort and performance is good; but the whole thing feels a little half battery powered, despite the efforts of the support musicians who really seem to be into their 5 chords. Like a Duracell super hero on the 7th song Dallas joins Lucy on stage for She’ll Move and the power level shoots up! They’re voices dance together, it really is a harmonious highlight. The best song from Lucy Rose is her most popular tune, Bikes, which amps up the room and gives everyone a paracetamol high before the main act.
A true western intro falls over the venue. There’s silence and a tension in the air (basically imagine the start of any John Wayne film), except we were waiting for the main musical cowboy of the hour. He waltzes onto the stage as cool as anything with his iconic plaid shirt get up and mountaineer cowboy hat, with his 4 amigos is in tow. The back drop of the stage is dotted with white LED lights on a blue setting and from the night sky, he flies us all to the moon with opener, Hello. I’m in Delaware.
Bringing us back into the present he then cracks out tracks off his latest album, the beautifully romantic, If I Go Before You. (If you were stood next to a couple which 70% of the crowd was, you wanted to barf, but in a good way). What we love about Dallas is that with each album his music grows with him, so this song brings a quiet, mature relaxed vibe over the crowd and cooing couples. At one stage it’s so relaxed that we can smell incense, literally. The Hurry and The Harm makes an appearance with The Lonely Life which gently raises the tempo and gets the crowd very excited as someone yells “I wanna touch you inappropriately”. In typical true City and Colour style he does his mid-set voice interlude, thanking “the like-minded musicians with the same ideals as him and those that keep him grounded when touring becomes hard.”
Ditching the more bluesy sound for his acoustic flare, the second half kicks off with semi- classic, We Found Each Other In The Dark. A silence falls over the crowd between his next guitar change which is like torturous foreplay, before knocking all of our pants off to Sleeping Sickness. This was easily one of the best tracks of the night, for the slide guitar alone. As powerful as City and Colour are, we think that each live show is a testament to his accompanying band; and this was the best we’ve ever seen. In true gentlemen fashion he thanks them all for “ how they make him not such a miserable c**t on tour,” much to their onstage amusement. Once introductions are made it’s back to business with Grand Optimist, which is slightly let down its potential on the harmony front. When the bridge kicks into an impressive light show and injection of electric pulse from his red baby, all is redeemed.
Last and best technical performance of the night, As Much As I Ever Could, with harmonies and notes that bring tears to eyes, sets us up for one of the longest encore’s we’ve ever experienced. Taking us on a nostalgic journey of albums past (Bring Me Your Love) Dallas thanks the crowd who he “is amazed keep listening and singing” to his songs. He performs Day Old Hate as a tribute to his humble success, which he wrote “10 years ago in his parents basement”. This song is nothing short of haunting and is played on to a deathly silence, which sets next track, “the funeral song” Body In A Box, perfectly. The place then erupts as the harmonica brings us all back to life. The Girl follows and is like a personal sing-a-long for all the die-hard fans (ourselves included) – and is arguably the best song of the night.
As the encore draws to a close with last song, Hope For Now, we notice a lovers tiff breaking out because of one of the lovers complaining that the set list “was not the true City and Colour”. Well sorry man now-in-the-dog-house, we disagree. The best thing about City and Colour, is that despite his array of albums and material spread out each annual tour, his music all is a magical testament to the main USP, his voice which to us, like his music, just gets better and matures with age. Which makes this, the best performance we have seen from them (and believe us we’ve seen a lot!).
So from Bring The Noise, and the mostly satisfied Troxy Theatre, thank you Dallas, for soothing our eardrums and minds and souls once again!
Written By: Charly Phillips
Photos By: Joe Sheridan