Living Colour at The Canyon Club, Agoura Hills, CA. 5/25/17
Living Colour are back making a noise. That’s certainly what they did when they hit the scene in the mid 80’s with the politically charged “Cult Of Personality”. There aren’t as many dreds slashing around the place these days, but the biting intensity of their message and sound is still sharp as a whip.
Leading up to this show I had been re-listening to their first 3 albums, “Vivid”, “Time’s Up” and “Stain” and I wondered how their social commentary and avant-garde styling would hold up in today’s scene. The answer is Perfectly!
Corey Glover (vocals), Vernon Reid (guitar), Doug Wimbish (bass) and Will Calhoun (drums) are still defying a genre. Although dubbed often as a Funk Metal band, that’s just a small portion of what you’ll hear at one of their shows. Soul, Jazz, Rap, Rock, Metal, Thrash…it’s all there. The musicianship is second to none and one of the reasons this band can pull off some of the most ridiculous time changes you’ll hear in a song. A perfect example is “Mind Your Own Business” from 1993’s “Stain“. Apologies were offered to Perth, where it was last performed, but the band destroyed it! (In the most positive of ways)
As Heavy as this band can be, Corey Glover’s amazing vocal range affords them the opportunity to slow it down and get soulful. “Nothingness” was a moment of beauty, complete with accompanying crickets.
Did I forget to add Grunge and Punk to their abilities? The band offered a heartfelt tribute to the recently departed, Chris Cornell, in the form of Soundgarden’s “Blow Up The Outside World”. And after a sped up version of “Type“, Vernon took over briefly on vocals to deliver The Clash’s, “Police & Thieves“.
After the most amazing of Bass solos by Doug Wimbish (just go see it), the band played “Love Rears Its Ugly Head” for “all the lovers”.
The setlist was mainly comprised of those songs that you would expect to hear at a Living Colour show, “Middle Man”, “Cult Of Personality” etc.., “Elvis Is Dead“, which Vernon pretty much dedicated to the outfit Corey was wearing, and was interjected with a burst of “Hound Dog” as well as “Time’s Up” which eased into James Brown’s “Sex Machine“. They also included “Who Shot Ya” from The Notorious B.I.G. and threw in “Either Way” from their Live Album, “The Paris Concert“.
We were also treated to a new song, “Who’s That” which “may or may not be included on an album that may or may not be called, “Shade”, that may or may not be released in the fall of this year”.
It’s clear watching this band that they have a love and affinity for one another. Lots of hugs, lots of poking fun at one another, and after songs and solos, some heartfelt handshakes at a job well done.
But don’t take my word for it… Go see for yourself.
Great, energetic set by Made-N-America. All Original tunes by a band that would have been best served being the last opener to perform before Living Colour. Great musicianship by Guitarist, Andrew Haller, Bassist, Clackers Kay, Drummer Sammy Aliano and the don’t-let-his-size-deceive you, powerful Vocals of David Keckhut.
Fun is right there in the name. I’m still not sure what to make of Victor Orlando and Fun Ja La, but I do know I enjoyed them. A mix of funk, soul, R&B from GAP Band member, Victor Orlando. He and his band added a latin flavor to the evening. During their set they added their own flavor to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” and the Beatles, “Come Together“. And there was also the inclusion of a Richard Pryor impression… Like I said…Fun.
This 3-piece band reminded me a bit of Blink-182. Just a bit… They included an attempt at Night Ranger’s “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” which I am urging them to drop from their set immediately. But if you can’t beat ’em… bring in dancers.