and Lets Fans In On New Album in New Jersey!
A SoundPress.net Archive Article by Rich and Laura Lynch
The Chair In The Doorway is the new hard-hitting album from Living Colour available on September 15 from Megaforce Records. The recording is a colorful pallet of passionate and pointed prose with pulsing rhythms. The eleven tracks are divided between metal tinged tunes with hypnotic hooks and more vibrantly visual pieces that are molded with the band's trademarked melody and multi-part harmonies.
Corey Glover on lead vocals is a compelling and dynamic frontman.
Heralding from New York City, Living Colour (Corey Glover-vocals, Vernon Reid-guitar, Doug Wimbish-bass and Will Calhoun-drums) formed in the 80's. Living Colour's unique urban rock blended free-form jazz, funk, hip-hop, metal and punk and their lyrics were often caustic and cautionary in pointing out injustice and racism in America.
Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones saw their potential and produced their early demo tapes with two songs appearing on their smash debut album Vivid. Their anthemic "Cult of Personality" won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 1989. Today, Living Colour is back with a vengeance touring in support of The Chair In The Doorway with a stop at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey on September 11, 2009.
The venue's compact stage was packed with gear as both Vernon and Doug made full use of effect pedals and digitally driven enhancements. Calhoun's yellow drum kit was impressive and at one point Reid joked that Will has the Cadillac of drums. Behind the stage was a screen with visual displays that recorded shots of the band in bleeding colors, capturing their movements, and adding to what was already a very vivid stage presence.
Living Colour opened with the massive sounding "Middle Man". Vernon was cool and collected as he pulled concise, colorful chords from his black guitar. Wimbish was technical, too, using a variety of techniques such as tapping and thumping his fingers over the bass strings while mixing in rapid pulls on the neck in a dragging motion. Will, a graduate of the Berklee College of Music, was the driving force behind the band with his bold beats and tricky time-keeping.
Legendary guitarist Vernon Reid kept the crowd entranced with his frenetic fret work.
"Desperate People" was daunting with demanding drumming, soulful stirring singing and intense instrumental exchanges. The song flowed into "Type" that blended rapid fire rhymes, roaring riffs and a dash of reggae effects.
Reid acknowledged the date (9/11) and dedicated "Flying" to those who died and were impacted by that fateful day. The song soared on Glover's silky vocals and the instrumentation went from spacious to haunting. The tune took a quick turn into David Bowie's "Heroes" bringing it to an even higher level.
Living Colour was edgy and engaging. Corey easily coerced the crowd to sing the refrain "everybody" and "Elvis is Dead", which included a sassy sax solo from guest player V Jeffrey Smith of The Family Stand. The sax was countered by Calhoun who was ever commanding on the kit.
"Elvis is Dead" segued into Will's solo that was daunting and included the use of an electronic drum pad to produce strange sounds and beats that were befuddling but beguiling. Returning to the kit Will used LED lighted sticks that emphasized his speed and motion.
The band took a quick break and returned to the stage announcing that they would be doing something different at this show by playing their new album in its entirety and sequence. "Burned Bridges" was bold with brash build ups and edgy effects. "The Chair" melded metal with menacing meandering. "DecaDance" was caustic with crashing chord structures.
"Young Man" was a rocking rant with racing rhythms followed by "Method" - a methodical and moody piece. "Behind The Sun" was feisty and funky and featured some harmonies. "Bless Those" - a personal favorite off the new disc - was reflective and robust with a catchy repeating refrain. From our perspective, the crowd quickly connected to this tuneful track.
Doug Wimbish was solid on bass, beats and backing vocals.
"Hard Times" started off pretty but quickly turned to power packed pulsing prose. "Taught Me" was a mid-tempo melodic muse followed by "Out of Mind" with its thunderous time-keeping twinged with metal guitar tones and threatening bass lines and lyrics. "Not Tomorrow" had a slightly swamp feel to it with soulful singing, saucy string work from Vernon and smoky rhythms.
Living Colour closed their set with an animated version of their anthem "Cult Of Personality" which is still a passionate and powerful piece. "Time's Up" started with the sound of clocks that quickly collided into fast and furious fret work filled with frightening rhythms. "Love Rears Its Ugly Head" blended funk and metal and moved through a number of moods. The third song of the encore was the classic "Should I Stay (Or Should I Go) by The Clash - a cover that was featured on Vivid. Living Colour's interpretation was creative and crazed and left the crowd craving more.
Opening for Living Colour was Phantasm a young three-piece from Philadelphia. Phantasm was eager and energetic. Their set was a mix of high speeds and styles. Their songs melded metal with a punchy punk attitude with lots of changes.
The guitarist who handled lead vocals had a wide range and could hit high notes. The trio was very animated in their movements and music. At one point, the bass player was jamming and standing on the bass drum. Their thunderous tunes had theatrical moments and generally they were able to engage the crowd who were eager to see Living Colour.
LIVING COLOUR SETLIST 09/11/09
Will Calhoun is the Berklee trained backbeat of Living Colour; the new album The Chair In The Doorway.
Related Links: For more information on LIVING COLOUR and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- LivingColourMusic.com | Phantasm | MexicaliLive.com | Excess dB Entertainment
(Originally Published on September 13, 2009)
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