Reviewed on Wednesday July 17

Dallas Green, formerly of Alexisonfire, now City and Colour, slipped into Sydney with relatively little fanfare to perform a quiet acoustic set ahead of a headline tour proper at the end of the year.

As the man himself said, usually these things are planned well in advance, but this one sort of snuck up on him – “I was playing in British Columbia, then it was like, ‘Fuck! I’ve gotta go to Australia in a couple of days!’”

Despite saying he wished there was a guy who could speak between all the songs on his behalf, the banter was self-deprecating and endearing: “Without you I’m just another guy playing guitar. You’re just as much a part of this as me.” The packed out Standard returned the love with tears and cheers, despite Green’s insistence at the start of the set, “I’m not getting any better looking as the show goes along. This is it.”

After opening with ‘Casey’s Song’ from debut Sometimes, he went on to hold the audience mesmerised with songs old and new, such as the heartbreaking ‘O Sister’ and his own favourite from the latest album The Hurry And The Harm, ‘Two Coins’. He dealt with hecklers frankly: “I’m going to play a new song, take it or leave it.”

Towards the end Green implored the audience to put their phones away for the entirety of ‘Body In A Box’ so they could just enjoy the music, and by the time he brought out the harmonica a few had more joined the girl who cried in every song – several tears were shed into the impressive array of beards dotting the crowd. And rightly so. Green’s songs are deceptively spare, and their apparent simplicity was amplified by the acoustic one-man setup and offset by the soaring purity of his voice.

The encore-less set finished with ‘Comin’ Home’ (“Obviously I’m going to fucking play ‘Comin’ Home’…”) and it was a fitting end to an artfully arranged set that wove together songs from all four City and Colour albums, showcasing the range of an artist that mines the minutiae from dreams of paradise to night terrors, and the emotional territory that lies between them.


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