The Scene: Flannel filled the Ogden wall-to-wall last Wednesday for a sold out evening with Canadian act City and Colour. The emotional singer-songwriter drew an attentive crowd of twentysomethings and over-delivered with a full band, bright lights, and vocals as pure as the heartbreak in his lyrics.
The Opener: Sleepy Sun. Psychedelic rockers Sleepy Sun were a much different warm-up than I expected for the gentle stylings of City and Colour but I was actually quite impressed with their brand of slow moving, fuzz filled, Rock. Singer Bret Constantino’s high voice floated peacefully atop the meandering mix and grabbed my ear. The crowd stood attentively, but seemingly unaffected. I’m guessing largely due to familiarity with their work. Check out their most recent album, Spine Hits for a taste.
City and Colour: City and Colour, the stage name of musician Dallas Green, has blossomed from a solo act into the full concert experience. After really enjoying the last two records, I still entered Wednesday night with low expectations, not knowing how well the intimate songs would play out in a standing-room-only venue like the Ogden. From the first cry of the steel guitar matched with Green’s voice on opener “Of Space And Time” my doubts were shattered. His earnest and brooding lyrics rang clear over a perfectly silent crowd. Shortly into the set Green prompted fans to raise their phones into the air, paused, and said “now put them in your back pockets” – where they seemed to stay most of the night…for a change.
The full band was talented, but served as the sonic backdrop for Green who was front and center in the the mix. Green’s voice was surely the best part of the live show. It was as delicate and snowy as on his albums. The inclusion of the pedal steel always gets me going, but in this setting it served more as a god-noise machine than a twangy fill instrument. Several songs were played solo acoustic during the middle of the set, including a singalong “Comin’ Home” that drew a large cheer on the line “I’ve been through the Rockies.” Other favorites of the night included “We Found Each Other In The Dark,” “The Golden State,” and “The Grand Optimist.”
The crowd swayed attentively most of the evening in a soak-it-all-in mode. White and colored beams independently panned the stage and audience – nothing over-the-top but appropriate for the gig. The silence in the room between songs was a testament to the captivating nature of the music and the quality of the fans. It’s nice not to have to deal with loud teenagers when you’re getting sucked into a picture an artist is painting.
The evening wrapped up acoustically with an encore of the tender love song “The Girl” with the band joining at the end. “This is my favorite song,” said Green before moving to the beautiful “Two Coins” – a standout moment of the evening. The night ended with a thousand voices singing the “ohhh’s” at the end of “Death’s Song,” leaving me more than satisfied with seeing Dallas Green’s delicate music translate so well in a live performance.
Stage Presence: A
Set/Light Show: B+