City and Colour can Suck it and Keep on Suckin’ it!
The 2011 Canada Games concluded in Halifax yesterday after two weeks of competition. I took in a couple of hockey games and watched some long track speed skating at the outdoor oval one afternoon. The actual sports of the Canada Games did little for me (the athletes were young teenagers and the elite level of competition just wasn’t there for the most part) but I was a fan of the nightly free concerts put on by the games. Throughout the two weeks I took in four of the free shows, including; Joel Plaskett, Sloan, Hey Rosetta and City and Colour. The concerts were all outside and other than Joel Plaskett’s show on Valentines Day the temperature was pretty cold for every concert. However, it wasn’t until City and Colour took the stage last night that I heard a single band complain about the cold temperatures and essential let it ruin their show.
Going into last night, I had seen City and Colour play once before. It was on other a brisk September evening a couple of years ago in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. At this concert, Dallas Green commented after every song about the cold and how it kept affecting the tune of his guitar. As their first song came to a close last night, I turned to my brother and said, “I guarantee you this band complains about the temperature and says that it keeps putting their guitars out of tune.” Within five seconds of me saying that Dallas Green says, “We’re going to be taking a little more time than usual between songs because the temperature keeps putting our guitars out of tune.” It was nice that Dallas didn’t make a liar out of me but he and his band followed that comment up with countless others like it throughout the night in addition to long delays between songs, stopping a song halfway through it because Dallas’s guitar went out of tune and taking a five minute break to warm up after playing just four songs.
I get that playing in -10˚ C temperatures is not ideal and that playing the guitar is tough when your hands are cold. However, City and Colour did themselves no favors last night. They failed to put their hipster image aside for one night and dress appropriately for the frigid temperatures. Dallas was wearing a denim jacket with a scarf while the other guitar player wore a three-piece suit and a top hat. To me, the incessant complaining fell on deaf ears for a host of reasons. One, the girl that opened up for City and Colour in the exact same temperatures didn’t say a word about how cold she was, probably due to the fact that she wore a winter jacket and a toque. Two, Sloan played in temperatures close to -30˚ C the week before and absolutely killed their set without muttering a word about how cold they were. Again, these guys dressed appropriately by wearing parkas, toques and gloves with the fingertips cut out. Last, City and Colour had several fans blowing hot air on them throughout the entire show. From what I could tell, Sloan had just one bush league heater on the stage that the one guitar player occasionally heated his hands up with in-between songs.
I’m not saying that City and Colour is a bad band because they’re not…. they write some of the best “sui watch” songs in the business. What I am saying is that they are a bunch of pussies and complainers that can’t handle less than ideal playing conditions. I have now seen City and Colour play two outdoor shows, neither of which was without complaints about the temperature. Consequently, if you plan on watching an outdoor City and Colour show you best not waste your time unless the outside air temperature equals room temperature (roughly 20-21˚ C). Because of this, City and Colour can suck it and Leah Miller can keep on suckin’ it!