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LIVE: LIVING COLOUR, Perth – 19 May, 2017

LIVE: LIVING COLOUR, Perth – 19 May, 2017
With Sweet Surrender
Astor Theatre, Mount Lawley
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Peter Gardner

Living Colour last visited Perth (perhaps for their first time?) as part of the 2014 Soundwave Festival travelling circus, where they were – for us – best in show. The travesty of that visit was, of course, that they only had 45 minutes to play – and in an airless, dingy room, at that. It took three years, but finally they were back for their own headlining tour.

Sweet Surrender opened the show, with matching superhero t-shirts and a spirited set of Blink 182/Good Charlotte inspired pop punk that worked for some more than others. An odd choice, we thought, considering the social commentary and musical diversity of the headliners, but their commitment and enthusiasm couldn’t be faulted.

Guitarist Vernon Reid opened Living Colour’s set by picking the riff to Robert Johnson’s Preachin’ Blues, the band falling in – bass, drums, vocals – to transform the Delta blues to a modern hard rocker.

“There’s no place I would rather be after something so fucked up, than somewhere like this,” says Reid, after playing a heart wrenching tribute to Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, who died the night before. Their version of Blow Up The Outside World brought many in the audience to tears, and that started both Reid and singer Corey Glover to crying.

What follows is a virtuoso set from a legendary band: the uplifting Middle Man, Glover – resplendent in a Jackson Pollock-inspired suit – shows off his rich, honeyed vocals on Desperate People, their Biggie Smalls cover Who Shot Ya? (from their forthcoming new album), and on multiple occasions Glover just stands back, arms folded, grinning (like the crowd) at how great his bandmates really are.

Doug Wimbish’s bass solo sounds like a funked out, pimped up take on Metallica’s One, and he thrashes his braids around as he plays; while Will Calhoun’s drum solo includes a snippet of Midnight Oil’s Beds Are Burning, to match his Aboriginal flag shirt, and a solo in the pitch black using fluorescent drumsticks was a hit.

Living Colour revel not only in delivering their eye opening, socially aware songs to rapturous applause, but also delve deep into the history of modern music, from the aforementioned Robert Johnson opener, to a cover of Big Mama Thornton’s Hound Dog (yep – look it up, kids). Type includes a snippet of Police & Thieves, and there are their own primary entries in the rock n’ roll hit hall of fame – Love Rears Its Ugly Head and Cult Of Personality, which was always going to be dedicated to the American President. A Glover-led chant of “Fuck Donald Trump” was a great audience pleaser.

Time’s Up commences the encore before segueing into What’s Your Favourite Colour, Living Colour then showing just how seamlessly they can meld funk and rock with a cover of James Brown’s Sex Machine.

Finishing the tour with another cover – this time The Clash’s Should I Stay Or Should I Go (which might have been better placed before the previous song) – makes for a raucous, joyous singalong for all in the theatre, and a tremendous end to a fantastic, bucket list-ticking night, with minds blown and hearts bursting.

Set List:
Preachin’ Blues
Wall
Middle Man
Desperate People
Blow Up the Outside World
Mind Your Own Business
Ignorance Is Bliss
Who Shot Ya?
Who’s That
Nothingness
Love Rears Its Ugly Head
Bass Solo
This Is the Life
Elvis is Dead / Hound Dog
Type
Drum Solo
Cult of Personality

Encore:
Time’s Up / What’s Your Favourite Colour/ Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine
Should I Stay or Should I Go

LIVE: LIVING COLOUR, Perth – 19 May, 2017

Filed Under: Live ReviewsPhoto Galleries

About the Author: Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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