City and Colour Serenades Deer Lake Park
The season of outdoor concerts and music festivals has officially begun. The first show of the year at Deer Lake Park was none other than City and Colour this past Friday. The band was wrapping up a series of tour dates across Canada starting from Halifax and ending in our own backyard of Burnaby, where fans were treated to a beautiful evening of music. The other Canadian tour dates saw City and Colour in arenas across the country, but I would say that Deer Lake was a fantastic choice of venue, as there is nothing better than being surrounded by music in an outdoor setting.
The opening act for the evening was Half Moon Run, who played a sold-out just last year at the Commodore Ballroom. Though the band is based in Montreal, vocalist and percussionist Devon Portielje pointed out that half of the group calls Vancouver home. I had heard nothing but good things about the band, and they definitely lived up to the hype. Their set was full of energy and they made a good impression with their existing and new fans. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them headline their own show at Deer Lake Park at some point in the next year or two.
The variety of concert t-shirts amongst the crowd was a real testament to the diversity of the fanbase of City and Colour, or Dallas Green. There were t-shirts from previous City and Colour dating back as recent as last summer to ones from years ago, as well as Alexisonfire t-shirts. Needless to say, there were a lot of diehard fans in attendance. As Green and his band walked onto the stage, they were greeted with cheers from the crowd as they began with their set with “Harder Than Stone” off their latest album The Hurry and The Harm. There was a mix of old favourites and new songs and Green even managed to get the crowd to sing backing vocals for the chorus of “What Makes a Man?”. A particularly warming moment was before Green played “Body In A Box” during the solo portion of the set list. Earlier in the day, a listener named Alannah called The Peak and told the story of how the music of City and Colour had connected her and her grandfather. Through the radio station, Green reached out to personally invite her to the show, and dedicated the song to Alannah and her grandfather’s memory. There has always been a factor of City and Colour’s music that is as honest as it is emotive, and this moment was proof of it.
The lyrics of “Comin’ Home” resonated with those in the audience, from the Canadian references to the feeling of geographical displacement. On the topic of location, City and Colour will be continuing their tour this summer with a number of appearances at various music festivals across North America as well as Australia. A new addition to the set list this tour has been a cover of Neverending White Light’s “The Grace”. Though the original song featured Green, City and Colour had previously not performed it live. It was the second time that I had the opportunity to see City and Colour live, and I think that Deer Lake Park was the perfect location to see them. Though outdoors and in the open air, the sound for the evening was fantastic and the band put on a great show for the last date of their Canadian tour. Judging by the number of excited fans at the merchandise tent, a great evening was had and will be represented by the soft-cotton t-shirts imprinted with the words: “City and Colour” and “2014”. The next concerts at Deer Lake Park will be the CBCMusic.ca Festival on June 14th, the Burnaby Blues + Roots Festival on August 9th, and Jack Johnson on August 21st. Check out Tourism Burnaby’s contest page for your chance to win a weekend getaway for these shows, and the events calendar for more upcoming events in Burnaby.