Live Review: City & Colour, Bahamas - The Tivoli

10 May 2012 | 3:57 pm | Benny Doyle

Although the stoic expression fools many in the crowd, Bahamas quickly shows he's here for fun. On any other night, Afie Jurvanen could have stolen the show. Tracks like the wistful Lost In The Light and the southern fried Hockey Teeth show a versatility in songwriting and style that not many troubadours can offer. His laidback guitar tone, colourful storytelling and sporadic string freakouts weave masterfully within themselves, with the Canadian's back and forth with the crowd charming and playful. The man might be an island, but tonight Bahamas connects with us all.

When Jurvanen returns to the stage, he does so in a manner even more inconspicuous than when he arrived. In fact, apart from the bespectacled guitar player with the greaser hair and tattoos adorning his skin, the other four men introduced as City & Colour go completely under the radar. Humbly positioned to the left of the stage, frontman Dallas Green forces the room to adjust its angle as the quintet lay out the balanced one-two opening gambit We Found Each Other In The Dark and Natural Disaster, before dipping back into the catalogue slightly with the ever emotive Sleeping Sickness. With a much different vibe from last year's visit, tonight sees City & Colour a considered group effort; Jurvanen electrifying in parts, while rhythm section Dylan Green and Scott Remila fill out the back end of the songs with a thickness not found on the group's studio recordings.

However, all eyes continue to remain transfixed on Green's every move, each set of ears connected to his voice. Disinterested with goading from certain members of the crowd, Green has a set game plan tonight. The middle of the set offers the solo time so many desperately desire, with Body In A Box especially inspired with the requested removal of all cameras and phones from the sky. But this is a team onstage tonight, tracks like Fragile Bird and Sorrowing Man showing an intensity absent in City & Colour just a few years ago. The band's special 29th birthday encore for pedal steel player Aaron Goldstein only solidifies this progress further. Although starting off traditionally enough, Green in solo mode playing Comin' Home, the full band soon return to the stage, ripping into a note perfect version of Like A Hurricane, a nod to fellow Canuck Neil Young that is lost on many in the audience, before morphing the track into the rich and provoking Hope For Now. It's a send off which shows City & Colour to no longer be an acoustic moniker for Dallas Green; it's now a genuine collective, a band – and each member proves tonight that they are critical in seeing Green's ever-developing alt-country vision through.