Review: City and Colour fill Tampa's Ritz Ybor with love, warmth and melody
For the past couple of months, my mind has been preoccupied with strictly electronic music, in preparation for Ultra Music Festival and all of the other great EDM shows coming to the Tampa Bay area this summer. I love electronic music, but it was nice to take a break from the bass and appreciate the real raw talent of a singer-songwriter. And no one could have broken the barrier better then Dallas Green and the boys of City and Colour.
I walked into the sold-out Ritz Ybor on Tuesday just as City and Colour were taking the stage. I seriously have never seen The Ritz that jam-packed with people.
The band was made up of Daniel Romano on guitar and vocals (he also had his own set before hand), Dylan Green on drums, Scott Remila on bass and vocals, Aaron Goldstein on pedal steel and organ, and of course founding member Dallas Green, who jammed out on acoustic guitar and harmonica. This award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter was also a member of the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. (Here's a fun fact: The name City and Colour comes from the founder's own name: Dallas, a city, and Green, a color. He didn't like the idea of putting his name on the album, a hint at his humble nature.)
They kicked off their show with the leading track on their new album Little Hell, We Found Each Other in the Dark. As soon as the music clamored through the speakers, the crowd was a sea of cell phones, swaying to the song's slow tempo.
The live set had a more folk and country feel then the album itself, very Neil Young's Old Man. But Green's voice is so smooth and creamy and dreamy, it takes their sound to a whole different level of amazing. Green was set off to the left side of the stage, not wanting to be the center of attention, again hinting at his humble nature. He seems so down-to-earth, and I love that in an artist.
The set continued with a crowd favorite, Body in a Box. Besides his angelic vocal abilities, Green is also a phenomenal writer. If Nicholas Sparks could write music, I think it would be similar to the love songs of City and Colour. Even this song, a song about a funeral, has poetic genius: "There's a funeral procession on the highway, traffic screeches to a halt. There's people searching for a better way, to live their lives. Johny lived a good life, you'll hear them say, as tears of sadness soak the ground. The reaper crept in, took his breath away, in the middle of the night." The simple melody of his songs makes it easy for the crowd to sing along, and every person in the room was doing exactly that.
Green finally spoke before song No. 3 to tell the audience, "This song is about my folks," and crashed into Grand Optimist, another song off of Little Hell. It started off acoustic, with just Green's immaculate vocals serenading the crowd, with the rest of the band creeping in slowly to add to the song's eerie vibe.
Halfway through their set, the band left the stage and left Green to do his thing. He played an intimate set of acoustic songs that still sends chills down my spine. He even asked the crowd to put their cameras and phones away and sing along to some older songs like Day Old Hate and The Girl. The band came back with a bang before the show sadly ended.
Throughout the night I saw couples slow dancing and friends with their arms around each other, swaying back and fourth. There was a whole lotta love in The Ritz Tuesday night -- love for music, love for friendship, and most of all, love for City and Colour.
-- Kate Cillian, tbt*