Show Shots & Thoughts // City & Colour w/ Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats @ Scotiabank Centre – 27.02.24

Being on the East Coast, we’re used to feeling like we’ve been left off of another touring map, but when City and Colour announced a co-headline tour with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, there was definite joy in Halifax.  It not only marked City and Colour’s return to Halifax after a 5-year absence, but the show marked the first Halifax performance for Rateliff and his band, which was a cause for great excitement, as they are the sort of act East Coasters typically have to travel to see live.

In the photography pit, it’s not all that often that shrapnel comes flying at you. Sure there’s the occasional guitar pick, or crowd surfer that may crash down on you after a boisterous crowd ejects the excited patron; rarely is it where a tambourine disintegrates mid-swing and the zills come flying at you. That however was the case early on in the Denver-based singer-songwriter’s set, prompting Rateliff to spike the defective tambourine on the stage, before retrieving an intact replacement. It was a minor hiccup in an otherwise flawless performance Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats.

The band worked through a fan-friendly set spanning their entire catalogue, drawing heavily from their eponymous debut and the 2018 sophomore release Tearing At The Seams. It only stood to reason that these two albums comprised this set list, as they include “S.O.B.”, “Need Never Get Old”, “Look It Here”, “Hey Mama” and “You Worry Me”. 2021’s The Future was also represented with “I’m On Your Side” and “Survivor”. There is much to be said about Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, as they continue with the great tradition of classic stage performers such as James Brown, or Joe Cocker where they would perform alongside a talented band of musicians, working in perfect harmony. You had that typical drum, bass, and guitar, set up, but adding in the keys and horn section elevates an already great performance into one of those indelible experiences that etches itself onto the memory for years to come.

City and Colour front-man Dallas Green, is no stranger to our fair city, immortalizing that sentiment in the track “Coming Home” from his debut album Sometimes:

“I’ve been through Nova Scotia, Sydney to Halifax I’ll never
take any pictures cause I know I’ll just be right back”

Between the growing status of his solo project, to his early days in Alexisonfire, Dallas has played a myriad of stages in the region and built a continued relationship with his audience. An audience that has grown up alongside him continues to flock to the venue whenever an announcement is made of his impending return.

Dallas Green has played a multitude of rooms in the city, from intimate concrete boxes (RIP The Pavillion), cozy soft seaters such as The Cohn, and larger festival stages such as Jazzfest, culminating at the biggest barn in town The Scotiabank Centre. The audiences grew on each subsequent visit, drawing more and more people as the talented singer-songwriter’s confidence built as a solo performer. As that confidence built, the venues steadily grew in size. Songs evolved from sleepy intimate numbers into these beloved classic cuts that can rouse an entire arena. Look at a track such as “Sleeping Sickness”, which is a sparse haunting number on 2008’s Bring Me Your Love (featuring Canadian icon Gord Downie), and is now a cathartic singalong that is slotted at the end of the night, allowing the entire room to take up Gord’s verse. It’s a soul-affirming moment that shows how music can unite an entire area in song.

City and Colour’s set was carefully constructed to simmer along, allowing Dallas’s vocals and lyrics to shine brightly, expertly accompanied but his talented bandmates, slowly building over a 13-song main set, which featured beloved tracks “We Found Each Other in the Dark”, “Thirst” and “Hello, I’m in Delaware”, ultimately reaching a fever pitch at the tail end of “Bow Down to Love” where a digital volcano erupted behind Dallas and his bandmates as they tore through a raucous jam session to close out the main set. After a short departure from the stage, Dallas took to the stage to perform “Norther Wind” on his own, before the band returned to join in on “Coming Home” and “Love Come Back” and the night wrapped up on the aforementioned “Sleeping Sickness”.

All in all, it was another exceptional night of music at the Scotiabank Centre, with an energetic fan-friendly set from Nathaniel Rateliff being a definite highlight.  I could only imagine if he were to return to the region, the room would be no less packed than it was for this co-headline jaunt. Dallas dazzled as usual, it was a great mix of new and old material, spanning his entire solo catalogue, and Ontario-based singer-songwriter Ruby Waters wowed in the opening slot of the evening.   Halifax will always have a home on the City and Colour itinerary, let’s hope that we find a home on Rateliff’s.

Ruby Waters

Nathaniel Raetliff & The Night Sweats

City and Colour






About the author


A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.