City and Colour Brightened a Gloomy Vancouver Chromatically

City and Colour with Jacob Banks at The Pacific Coliseum, 11/9/19

Photo by Ryan Johnson

On Saturday night at The Coliseum the unceasing rain that dimmed Vancouver all day was outweighed by City and Colour’s radiant performance. 

British singer Jacob Banks kick-started the concert with jolting vocals. The artist hooked the audience with his blend of R&B, rock, and hip hop. Although Banks was born in Birmingham, his Nigerian background is revealed through his soulful voice. It was evident the singer had some fans of his own filling the front rows. The crowd was pretty psyched about him, and the seven songs he performed left everyone craving more. 

A little after 8:30 the stage gleamed in neon purple and the audience cheered ecstatically as City and Colour began their set. The venue was completely full by then. By the third song most people were on their feet. On the second night of their tour for the new album, A Pill For Loneliness, the band looked full of life. City and Colour is the alias artist Dallas Green records under, but his fans seem to know him too well for that and screamed his name loudly during the concert.

Photo by Ryan Johnson

Four years since the last album release, If I Should Go Before You, and two since he was last on the road, Green found his way back to songwriting and recording as a mechanism to cope with what he calls the “era of fear” we live in today. Like other amazing songwriters, Green has stated that he doesn’t feel compelled to write during happy times. His vision is certainly reflected in his album. A Pill for Loneliness features songs like “Living in Lighting,” “Mountain of Madness,” and “Strangers” – all of which were part of the performance. 

The singer joked about his lack of creativity a few times, saying things like, “This song is about pretty much what every other song is about,” in an intro to the song “Runaway.”

Despite his modesty, Green’s songs are anything but average. The lyrics in each song describe different aspects about the human condition: complex emotions, sticky situations, and messy mistakes. What’s special about his outlook though is that it’s not a pessimistic one. Green invites us to celebrate our mistakes, for they help us move forward. 

Halfway through the set the stage roof descended , encapsulating the band in bright magenta lights. The crowd rose collectively after Green’s hint, “This song is about fucking up,” realizing “Lover Come Back” was coming up. The sound was amazing: the bass, percussion, and guitar fusing perfectly. After about two hours the band left the stage, making the public unsteady to the possibility of oldies like “The Girl” not making the cut. After minutes of non-stop cheering, they were back on stage. “I swear I didn’t leave to get you guys to plead my return, I just really had to pee,” he confessed. 

Everyone laughed and found their expectations were exceeded by the performance of other favorites like “We Found Each Other in the Dark.” “The Girl” was a highlight, as many of the lines were entirely sung by the crowd. Before closing the night off with “Living in Lighting” and “Sleeping Sickness,” he asked fans to join him in signing happy birthday to a person dear to him in the audience. Green’s songs are definitely not all the same, but they do remind us listeners that we all go through the same things: living lives that bring with them chapters full of very different colours.