Monthly Archives: January 2012

City and Colour

Last night I went to see City and Colour at the Jubilee Auditorium.

I think it was the first time I’d been in the audience at the Jubilee Aud, although I’ve been seated on the stage for a couple of convocations. I couldn’t think how to work that into conversation, though. The audience included lots of people showing full-sleeve tattoos like Dallas Green the singer, or emulating his style wearing checked shirts or severe black-framed glasses.

The opening act was called Low Anthem. My friend W had been telling me she was more excited about seeing them than seeing City and Colour. Wikipedia calls them folk rock or indie folk, and I could see them fitting in well at Folkfest. They are from Rhode Island. But the cool thing, that I didn’t realise from listening to tracks ahead of time, is that something about their sound and their main singer reminded me a lot of some band we used to listen to in the old days. And I couldn’t think who. Clapton? Tom Petty? I thought of another group but couldn’t remember their name, and it distracted me all through their set, but a quick application to Wikipedia and a quick response to texts from a music fan in my family told me I was thinking of Traveling Wilburys, and so probably Tom Petty’s voice with the more country-like acoustic arrangements. Whew.

Dallas Green and his band were really good. He has good rapport with the audience, responding to shouted comments, asking very politely for one song with no electronic distractions (the one about a funeral) and getting it, with applause, and getting different sections of the audience to sing the backup bits on What Makes a Man, including knowing how to rehearse us (choral conductors do this well, rock musicians generally don’t). He played almost all my favourites from the earlier albums (except for Save your Scissors) and some from the new one I don’t know so well. The encore was Dallas singing alone while playing the piano on, I actually don’t remember which song now, and then with the rest of the band on Coming Home (wild cheers when he mentioned Saskatoon, even more when he mentioned Nova Scotia).

The “Jube” is an attractive comfortable hall seating about 2500 people. I was near the back of the first balcony, so not as engaged as I might have been but I still had good sight lines even with tall people in front of me. I noticed, though, that for both bands it was hard to distinguish lyrics that I wasn’t already familiar with. In comparison, when I saw the band Stars at the Winspear Centre downtown where the symphony plays, the lyrics were very very clear. (This is fortunate, since Stars has better lyrics!) And from what I read this morning, the symphony used to play at the Jubilee Auditorium until audiophiles and philanthropists were able to arrange a hall with better acoustics — so it’s cool that even I could hear that.

Headstones on New Year’s Eve

Partway through my friends’ New Year’s Eve party, I caught a bus downtown to the Headstones concert at the Shaw conference centre.

The last concert I went to there had an “all-ages” setup, with the draft beer confined to a standing-room cavern at the back. This time it was like my friend D had described, most of the room filled with round tables and chairs, and the back rows of tables even had friendly looking candles in glass as well as tablecloths. I got there during the second band of the night, Tupelo Honey. I hadn’t heard them before but they were local and I thought they were good, and also their lead singer looked like an old friend which is a plus. For the end of that set I was standing a few rows from the front, comfortable and dancing, so I decided to move up as I could between sets, until I had a tiny piece of real estate on the centre of the barricade. This wasn’t as comfortable, because there were a couple of drunk guys being a little aggressive with other and smarmy with me, and when the concert promoters came on stage to count down to midnight the one guy made a really creepy pitch for kissing strangers ‘and if you can’t get a kiss get a grope’ and stuff like that.

Still, I stuck it out and then the Headstones came on and started to play Tweeter and the Monkeyman and I was the closest fan to Hugh Dillon and he looked and sounded just like on television only right there in front of me sweaty and happy and full of energy and yelling “fuck” a lot. By then I’d worked out the territorial claims to my side, but as the show continued the crowd behind was dancing and thrusting forward and I kept getting elbows in my back and the barricade in my front, so after a couple of songs I found a friendly big guy behind me to swing me backwards and I got out of the standing-room crowd. The crowd was a funny mix of intent music fans and dressed up people out for a party evening, some dressed in little sparkly dresses and some dressed in Team Canada hockey sweaters. As I’d predicted, I wasn’t the only one in my age group, and there wasn’t as much cellphone-documentation up close to the stage as there was at Death Cab for Cutie.

I saw no appeal in paying concert-hall prices for a Canadian or Coors Light when I was working on not being hung over anyway, so my choices were basically a $3 Sprite or a $4 bottled water, both with the caps removed. I sat down and cooled down, then ambled back to the side of the crowd with my drink and got pretty close without being squished. I didn’t stay for the encore, (and I knew from earlier setlists that they hadn’t played my favourite song this tour).

I didn’t see any taxis and caught a bus from, whatever that big bus stop is called with the sliding-doors heated shelter (and where there was once a fatal altercation, although not when I was there), back to my little car and home before 2am. Big-picture thanks to the family member who recommended the Headstones to me in the first place back in 2007 or so.