It was a few nights before Christmas, and we headed up to the Triffid along with all the traffic to catch New York metal funk legends, Living Colour.
We got there as Brisbane funky metal merchants Osaka Punch were charging through their set. These guys are hard to put into any box. Beatboxing, a cappella, headbangers, wit and various diatribes all made appearances, alongside precision drumming and general musicianship. The crowd loved it.
Take four of America’s most talented musicians and put them in a band. That is Living Colour. But in addition to that, they are supreme entertainers, who play for each and every person in the house, and we can tell you, the love they gave was given back from everyone in the audience. The audience sang with a full heart when given the chance.
It was a night of nostalgia with the setlist focusing heavily on their first three albums. In fact, only one song from their last three LPs got a run – ‘Come On’ off last year’s ‘Shade’.
The band played with breathtaking power and energy. The crowd was eating out of the palm of their hand as they were treated to an explosion of sounds ranging from heavy metal to funk through jazz and hip hop, over to punk to hard rock.
Singer Corey Glover is simply amazing. He has one of the most versatile and powerful voices on offer, and Vernon Reid proved why he is regarded as one of funk metal’s founding fathers as he ripped through some of the genres most iconic riffs and solos, leaving fans mesmerised by his incredible guitarmanship.
Bass player Doug Wimbish is also exceptional. He plays at a frenetic pace, but with style as well. One of the highlights of the night was when he played a solo instrumental song on his bass with a loop pedals.
Drummer Will Calhoun provided the backbone of the show, a beast on the drums, dominating the skins with power, ferocity and precision. At one point he stepped out from the kits, wearing an Aboriginal flag shirt, and what I can only describe as an electronic cajon, and played a version of Midnight Oils ‘Beds are Burning’ with the audience joining in.
The audience wanted it to go on forever, but they finished up with ‘Times Up’, mashed with the classic James Brown song ‘Sex Machine’, getting the audience chanting “Get on up”.
It was a performance of four truly talented troubadours and entertainers who made the audience part of the show. They love Australia, and said they will be back. You need to see Living Colour next time they hit our shores.
IMAGES (c) Brendan Shanahan Photo