City and Colour
City and Colour | Credit: Six Strings Photography (via @SummerSaltAus)

City and Colour Review – Aural Power and Heartfelt Tenderness at Melbourne’s Forum

City and Colour performed at Forum Melbourne on Thursday, 9th February. Brenton Harris reviews.

For droves of music fans around the world, there are few sounds more evocative than Dallas Green’s voice. On a beautiful summer evening in Melbourne, the City and Colour front person used that voice to take a sold-out Forum crowd on a cathartic journey. 

Cutting a distinguished figure, the full-bearded Green and his dapper backing band were greeted with rapturous applause before an expectant hush fell upon the room. As Green opened his mouth to sing the opening lines of ‘Meant To Be’, every eye and ear in the room was transfixed. Many had been waiting seven years for this moment, as an unpredictable sequence of events prevented Green and co. from touring Australia.

City and Colour – ‘Meant to Be’

As Green segued into ‘Living in Lightning’ from 2019’s A Pill for Loneliness, we knew we were in for a special night. ‘Thirst’ from 2013’s The Hurry and the Harm and ‘Northern Blues’ from 2015’s If I Should Go Before You had the room rocking. Green and his bandmates conjured a wall of noise, hammering home the soul-searching distress of the lyrical content. It was enough to touch the heart of even the most seasoned gig-goer.

The juxtaposition of aural power and Green’s gentle and affable between-song banter encapsulated the Canadian songwriter’s identity. The tender side came to the fore during the Little Hell cut ‘We Found Each Other in the Dark’ and ‘Hello, I’m Delaware’ from City and Colour’s 2005 debut full-length, Sometimes, moving several audience members to tears. 

Heartfelt readings of ‘Weightless’ and ‘Waiting…’ had a similar impact, with Green implying that despite what people might think, the latter song is about finding joy by living in the moment. Joy was part of this gig’s journey, but so too was grief. 

In our recent interview with Green, he said that City and Colour’s forthcoming record, The Love Still Held Me Near, is about “feeling broken and torn apart and just trying to figure out how to put the pieces back together”. A powerful performance of the album’s second-single, ‘Underground’, suggested that Green is still working through that process. It was at once haunting and beautiful to witness.

City and Colour – ‘Waiting…’

The broad musical range of City and Colour was on display during the interconnected three-song sequence of ‘Fragile Bird’, ‘As Much as I Ever Could’ and ‘Sorrowing Man’; the final songs before the encore. Along with showcasing some of Green’s most soaring and intimate vocals, the mini-medley allowed the rest of the band to go to town on some extended jams.

Green re-emerged for a four-song encore, but not before reflecting on his genuine love for Australia. The encore began with City and Colour’s breakout hit, ‘Comin’ Home’, with Green indicating that he has Australia on his mind whenever he sings the song. The injection of the chorus from Alexisonfire’s ‘This Could Be Anywhere In The World’ towards the end of ‘Comin’ Home’ caused one of the loudest sing-alongs of the night.

The resonant love song ‘The Girl’ has been a staple at post-hardcore kids’ weddings for years, and more than a few couples were seen looking gooey-eyed as Green sang of devotion and respect for the one he loves. Heartbreak is also a feature of love, so it was fitting that the sprawling, heartbroken ‘Lover Come Back’ followed, before ‘Sleeping Sickness’ brought the emotional journey to a close. 

As Green conducted the Forum audience through the repeated refrain, “Someone come and save my life”, you got the sense that for some, this music may have done exactly that. 

Further Reading

City and Colour: “I Didn’t Know if I Was Going to Write Anything Ever Again”

Alexisonfire: “This is the Best Record We’ve Ever Done”

Alexisonfire Announce 2023 Australian Tour

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