Living Colour - LIVE: The Garage, Glasgow 2017

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Shade In The UK Tour
September 25 (20:50 - 22:15)
Capacity 700

With the world the way it is today, bands like Living Colour are important. Breaking down barriers and tearing down walls in a society eager to build them. The band have always been political with a very strong social and moral conscience, however they manage to combine that commentary with music and lyrics that incite dancing and a sense of community.

Live in concert, all of that becomes even more true. In Glasgow they had the Garage jumping, singing and having fun whilst hitting out at things that are wrong with the world. Preaching a message, but without pomposity or losing the idea of a fun night out - and fittingly, they opened with a cover of Robert Johnson's Preachin' Blues, which they recorded on their latest album Shade.

Before starting their second song, Corey Glover (vocals) name-checked the latest president of America, saying they had a message for him. That of course was a song from Stain, from way back in 1993, simply called Wall. Urging that the walls between us “must fall” - the walls which are created by hate and ignorance fuelled by religion and racism - this was played with power and passion, and even a sense of frustration in the delivery. Drummer Will Calhoun excelled in particular playing some great fills and all-round sounding fantastic. The chorus was sung with great gusto by the crowd getting louder each time around and by the end being unbelievably loud.

The band themselves were full of smiles and fun facial contortions using the whole of the stage moving around. The energy on stage was very high indeed. The new songs fitted in very well, so there wasn’t a lapse in the set when they played them, which can sometimes happen when a band plays something from their latest album. Who's That had some great vocal acrobatics and a wonderful guitar solo from Vernon Reid. The cover of Notorious B.I.G's Who Shot Ya is terrific and very different from the original, focussing on the more political parts of the song and altering the chorus. The words were almost spat out with anger at what is going on, especially in the US with the incidents of black people being shot or treated differently because of the colour of their skins by authorities. It was very powerful and emotional stuff indeed.

As expected songs from the first album Vivid gained some of the best reactions, being the breakthrough one. Open Letter (To A Landlord) was only second to Cult of Personality for audience reaction. The songs all still stand the test of time and sound fresh and vibrant. The vocals were most impressive. Cory Glover still has the elusive "it" - strength and clarity along with soul.

Cult brought the night to a fine end, although it seemed strange they didn't play their biggest hit in the UK possibly as an encore. One wonders if perhaps being a club venue that they didn't have time to encore as the crowd were still up for more and the band looked to have had a good time.

There were a couple of solos (bass and drums) which were actually rather good, with plenty of groove and inventiveness, but perhaps if there was a time problem, they could have played another couple of tracks, like Love Rears Its Ugly Head on the night. Apart from that slight disappointment, this was a wonderful evening of politics, fun, and good music. They're a band still with fire in their bellies and the energy to deliver.

Setlist: Preachin' Blues / Wall / Middleman / Desperate People / Ignorance Is Bliss / Who Shot Ya / Who's That / Come On / Open Letter (To A Landlord) / This Is The Life / Type / Cult of Personality

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2017, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock,

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