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Juno award winner Dallas Green – otherwise known as City and Colour – closed out Saturday night on the Harbor stage. Canadian singer and songwriter Green was the former vocalist for post-hardcore band Alexisonfire and has since been active in the acoustic and folk music scene. Green typically tours with a full band but tonight he flew solo into the overcast Newport evening. Green humbly took a seat center stage in front of a packed tent that was lined with so many fans – security had to consistently ask people who stopped in their tracks to listen to keep pathways clear in and around the stage.
Green’s voice is pure and simple, honest and emotional. As are his melodies – Green’s set was dream-like as if time had slowed down and the hustle and bustle outside of the tent had vanished. He started off the set with “We Found Each Other In the Dark” off of his recent album Little Hell.
From the get-go, Green turned on the charm tonight to win over the crowd and joked with them between songs. “[Newport] told me I couldn’t have a band with me tonight,” Green chuckled. “Because it wasn’t that kind of festival. But I swear the band before me had six members!” Green went on to joke that everyone in the audience must have experienced the same thought when he began, “Oh, that’s what he looks like?”
Another stand out track on the set list tonight was “Sleeping Sickness” off of Green’s 2008 release Bring Me Your Love. During each chorus Green beckoned for the audience to take control and they did not disappoint. A soft and chill-inducing echo of “someone come, someone come and save my life” rose from the audience each time the moment came.
While several of Green’s songs revolve around the theme of death like “Waiting” and “Body In a Box,” his songs don’t make the audience feel sad. They are peculiarly uplifting at times – despite the fact that Green explained that he wrote “Body In a Box” after the death of his grandmother and upon seeing his own father completely vulnerable for the first time. That’s my favorite thing about Green’s musicianship; his songs can explore dark territory but not leave you in a cloud of woe. The clever combination of the story being told and the occasional harmonica solo always manages to bring you out with your head still held high. Green brought the first festival day to a poignant close – tomorrow we begin anew, just as it should be.