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City and Colour at the Hollywood Bowl 8/19/16. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

It’s always a pleasure to see Dallas Green perform under the alias City and Colour. Using a tenderly soulful voice to emote passionately fragile folk melodies, it can be hard to image Dallas used to be the guitarist and singer for the post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. Knowing the musical path that his career has taken over the years, I savor this contrast.

From 200 feet away (where I was sitting), you can see literally see the hard core life on his skin, with his rolled up sleeves revealing a spread of ink that colors his forearms and fingertips, traveling under his shirt up his neck. With such a bold outward appearance, one may expect the music to be grittier and perhaps angrier, but instead it is lovingly melodic, reaching into the depths of your soul to tug on your heartstrings.

For most opening acts, the audience at the Hollywood Bowl tends to be more interested in drinking, dining and chatting with friends.  When City and Colour began to play a solo acoustic set, however, you could hear a pin drop. My companion for the evening sat in her chair, wine glass in hand, transfixed. She had never heard of Dallas Green a/k/a City and Colour before, but I could tell by the look in her eyes that the color of Mr. Green’s music was certainly taking its hold.

As Dallas crooned his folk ballads to the attentive Hollywood Bowl audience, you could see and sense the amount of passion his was putting into words. It was as if the audience was no longer there, and he was singing for himself. As he sang, his eyes would squint to a close with his pupils rolled back as if he was physically looking into his own head to find the right emotions for the words he sang. When he pulled notes from his soft falsetto, I definitely heard audible sighs of contentment from the women around me.

Dallas briefly expressed his gratitude for being able to play the Hollywood Bowl. His humility was modest, and he kept his words to a minimum with a simple, “Have a good evening,” before playing his final song, “As Much As I Ever Could”, which concludes with the following lyrics:

“No, I am not where I belong, so shine a light, guide me back home.”

You’re where you you belong, Dallas. Job well done.

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