City and Colour - aka Dallas Green as a solo artist - has seemingly gained control of his notoriously loud and unruly fans.
At least in Toronto.
As the singer-songwriter-guitarist from St. Catharines, Ont., where he once played with melodic hardcore band Alexisonfire until finally splitting from the group last year, performed the first show in a two-night stand at Massey Hall on Friday night without any obtrusive shout outs during his hour-and-40 minute set.
Never mind that one fan who couldn’t keep time during a solo run through of Body In a Box.
“Do you ever notice it’s always the one guy who can’t who claps through the entire song?” joked Green. “I’m going, ‘Don’t think about them.’ But that’s all you can hear.”
The dapperly dressed Green and his four touring musicians - guitarist Dan Romano, bassist Scott Remila (in the centre of the stage with Green to his right), steel guitarist Aaron Goldstein and drummer Dylan Green (no relation) - definitely arrived in town on a high note.
His third solo album under the City and Colour moniker, Little Hell, garnered four Juno nominations earlir this week and he was good for it in a live setting.
In particular, Green’s sweet-sounding, soulful voice stood out on such songs as Sleeping Sickness, As Much As I Ever Could, Weightless, What Makes A Man, The Girl, Fragile Bird, Sorrowing Man and fan favourite Comin’ Home, making the night a memorable one.
As for the Massey Hall crowd, they were well-behaved for the most part save for the occasional song request or declaration of love.
And they eagerily complied when Green asked them to refrain from all tweeting, photo taking and videotaping during Body In a Box, or joining him on the chorus for What Makes A Man as he coached audience members on three different vocal parts.
Heck, they even sang Happy Birthday to his sister “Jordy,” whose birthday he had missed Thursday because of his tour.
In turn, Green rewarded long time fans with an old song, Day Old Hate, the first of three songs in a row to feature him on stage alone mid-way through the set, as he alternated betweeen acoustic and electric guitar.
Otherwise, the night openly strongly with some major twang - Romano was also wearing a cowboy hat - via Little Hell’s We Found Each Other In The Dark, followed by the equally powerful Sleeping Sickness.
Add to that dramatic lighting and a big sound and it was a noticeably slicker, more polished show than City And Colour’s outing at the same venue three years ago.
By the time, Green appeared alone again on Friday night to kick off the encore with Comin’ Home. He said he was speechless when it came to explaining how good it felt to be back.
Turns out the song did the talking for him.