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City and Colour - Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale - June 4

City and Colour
with David Bazan
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Monday, June 4

Better than:
An Alexisonfire show.

Last night, City and Colour -- the solo musical project of former Alexisonfire guitarist and vocalist Dallas Green -- made its South Florida debut. The sold-out Culture Room show was filled with romance, heartache, and sweat as the Canadian musician and heartthrob swooned both the male and female crowd members. But Green isn't just another good-looking tattooed fellow with a guitar. The indie-folk singer produces a sound that is both mesmerizing and dramatically different from the Alexisonfire style.

Opening for C&C was seasoned musician David Bazan, a man who once united the Christian rock and indie music scenes. In the middle of a dark stage sat the bearded Bazan, armed with an acoustic guitar, baring his soul to the packed room. He strummed his guitar, eyes closed, belting out the lyrics to such songs as "Cold Beer and Cigarettes" and "Wolves at the Door." It's as though he's the only one in the room and we're just voyeurs reading his musical diary. This is felt even more during "In Stitches" and "Curse Your Branches" -- songs off his first solo record that has been said to be his "breakup album with God." Formerly of Pedro the Lion and Headphones notoriety, Bazan didn't disappoint his longtime fans as he performed the song "Options." Closing the too-short set with the title track from his 2011 album, Strange Negotiations, Bazan left many of us yearning for a few more songs and hating the loud conversationalists who took away from the intimate experience.

One by one, Dallas Green's touring band took the stage, as the singer settled into his spot behind a speaker. Admittedly, the stage setup was a bit strange. Green remained to the left of the stage hidden away from half the audience while bass player Scott Remila stood front and center. But not even an awkward stage arrangement could keep the crowd from enjoying the show. Greeted by a roar of cheers and applause, the night began with the melodic, countrified track, "We Found Each Other in the Dark" off latest album Little Hell. Transitioning into the more up-tempo "Sleeping Sickness," the room's energy ignited as the crowd sang along with Green.

During the awkward moments of silences in between songs, the audience took it upon themselves to yell out song requests, as well as an abundance of marriage proposals.

"Top three things you shouldn't yell out at a show: (1) "Free Bird," (2) Take your shirt off, and (3) The name of a song we already played," explained the witty Dallas Green. "Don't worry. I've got a whole list of songs I'm going to play."

After performing a healthy portion of tracks from Little Hell and Bring Me Your Love, the backing band exited the stage, leaving Green alone with his guitar and the entranced audience. No doubt a riot might have broken out if the audience didn't get a little bit of oneo-on-one time with the Canadian singer. Green strapped on his harmonica and looked into the crowd.

"Do me a favor: Everyone who has a cell phone out for taking photos or video hold it up high in the air. Now, put it in your pocket. You're all so busy wanting to snap a photo that you're forgetting how to experience this moment. So please put them away for just one song."

Requesting a break from the constant cell-phone usage has become a staple trademark of the City and Colour shows. All eyes on Green, he launched into "Body in a Box," a haunting yet catchy tune about death. The crowd clapped, gazed adoringly, and hung on his every word, never missing a lyric. Following an audience participated call-and-response rendition of "What Makes a Man," Green's backup musicians joined him back on stage for fan favorite "The Girl."

"Fragile Bird" took the night away with its more bluesy, garage-rock sound and flowed seamlessly into an epic, guitar-solo-heavy version of "Sorrowing Man." Ending the set on such a high note almost made it feel as though there was no need for an encore. However, following the crowd's pleas for "one more song," Green returned onstage to wrap things up with "Comin' Home." 

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Dallas Green gives me a lady boner.

The crowd:
Beards, bangs, black-rimmed glasses, ex-hardcore kids, couples making out, plaid shirts.

Pet peeve: People who wouldn't stop talking throughout David Bazan's set.

OH: "Have my babies" from a male audience member to Dallas Green.

Random detail: Unfortunately I missed guitarist Daniel Romano's set because the show started earlier than expected.

Set List
We Found Each Other in the Dark
The Sleeping Sickness
The Death of Me
The Grand Optimist
As Much as I Ever Could
Day Old Hate
Body in a Box
Boiled Frogs (Alexisonfire cover)
What Makes a Man
The Girl
Little Hell
Fragile Bird
Sorrowing Man


Comin' Home

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Betsey Denberg

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