City And Colour, Hammersmith Apollo, London

Dallas Green lets his music (and at times, his shirt choice) do the talking.

Rating:

For Dallas Green, his musical life has always been a bit of a balancing act. With previous project – Canadian post-hardcore heroes Alexisonfire – he provided the calm to a frenzied storm, tearing up tiny venues and inciting riotous responses from adoring audiences. Yet, even when they reached the peak of their career, they were always a band bound to the underground, in one way or another.

On the flip-side, his current project provokes a rather different reaction. Whilst the fans still equally adore Green, it’s more with a sense of awe. His powerful vocals can fill rooms twice their actual size, his lyrics cut deep to the bone. His songs are affecting and moving, whilst the simplicity of the whole thing had opened his music up to realms previously untouched by Alexisonfire. In 2011, Green headlined a sold out show at London’s Royal Albert Hall – a feat achieved by so few – so it’s no real wonder that tonight’s visit to London, three years on, takes place at Hammersmith’s reinvigorated-and-shiny Apollo.

Tonight’s show is fairly simple and straightforward. Standing centre stage, amidst a few lights and accompanying band members, Green lets his music (and at times, his shirt choice) do the talking. His vocals soft and sweet, he guides his audience through a setlist of highlights from across his discography. Whilst latest album ‘The Hurry And The Harm’ is most fresh in people’s minds – something reflected in the opening choice ‘Of Space And Time’ – he’s comfortable with delving back into his back catalogue. From the grand but heartstring-tugging ‘Body In A Box’ to the raw, acoustic-led sounds of ‘Comin’ Home’, he seems to deftly return to each era of his career with the utmost control and power, reinvigorating the memories of first listening to those songs.

Elsewhere, tracks like ‘Thirst’ provide a change in pace; its funky, band-led spirit sees Green stray from the guitar-led path and, as it fills the room triumphantly, it works. He even, halfway through, throws in a surprise cover of his previous project’s ‘Boiled Frogs’; translated from the aggressive original, its new form – stripped back and acoustic – shines perfectly. Tracks like ‘Little Hell’ receive rapturous applause, encore opener ‘The Girl’ is wonderful.

Drawing to the set to a close with ‘Death’s Song’ – the last track from his new full-length - seems like an inspired choice, with it swelling and rising in all the right places. As the resounding ‘Ohhh Ohhhs’ echo out throughout the Apollo this evening, and the few hairs stand up on the back of the audience’s necks, the music really does do the talking, and that was all we could’ve hoped for.

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