City and Colour kicked off a Canadian tour Tuesday (Feb. 6) in Victoria and continued east with a second date two nights later at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, with more to follow this month in Live Nation Entertainment bookings.
Less than a week before Valentine’s Day, love was in the air on Griffiths Way for a Thursday night of warm rock and soul from the headliners, middle-set standouts Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (not “Meat Sweats,” as someone laughed) and 7 p.m. show-opener Ruby Waters, an Ontario singer-songwriter with a bright future.
Last time I saw City and Colour was last March in a packed BC Place Stadium as openers for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Thursday’s concert didn’t draw as many people, of course, but Rogers was decently full, including the upper balcony.
For City and Colour, their not-so-secret weapon is Dallas Green’s killer voice. Seriously, I’d kill to have that guy’s clear, high range, and wow, did his vocals fill the arena during a 15-song set that included groovy new song “Underground” and old hit “Sleeping Sickness,” among others.
City And Colour was everything 🖤 pic.twitter.com/NLvn0hluld— RynLea 🍁 (@ar_el_) February 9, 2024
As a band, however, City and Colour sometimes lacks the level of energy necessary to command attention and truly engage an arena crowd. We all know it’s not party music, but the band would be wise to up the BPMs just a bit, at least in concert. Maybe Green, now 43, gets his fill (or got his fill) of doing that with his “other” band, post-hardcore quintet Alexisonfire.
For my money… OK, I was comped a ticket to write this concert review, but regardless, my take is this: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats was the stronger, more diverse, much more engaging band of the night. The Missouri-born, Colorado-based frontman brings “it” every night with a band (including horns) that delivers sweaty R&B, funky soul and gospel-y goodness.
On this Canadian tour, ending Feb. 24 in Quebec City, it’s going to be tough for City and Colour to top that energy every night.
If you don’t believe me, Robert Plant calls Rateliff “one of these guys that will just carry the torch” in an interview posted to faroutmagazine.co.uk this week. “Beautiful songwriting, beautiful singing, great delivery and he is a magnificent guy to go with it.”
Hard to argue. See for yourself one day when Rateliff & the Night Sweats headline an arena show of their own in Vancouver.