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LIVING COLOUR @ Astor Theatre gets 7/10


Living Colour @ Astor Theatre
w/ Ragdoll, Fyrebyrd
Saturday, December 15, 2018

7/10

Vivid was one of the finest hard rock albums of the 80s, a Grammy Award winning tour de force that New York’s Living Colour brought back to life at the Astor Theatre, on the opening night of their 30th Anniversary Australian tour on Saturday.

Fyre Byrd

The show kicked off at 8pm, with Fyre Byrd, a heavy rock sounding, dirty pop duo from Adelaide, playing their ever first show in Perth. With extended solos and limited lyrics, the duo are exciting and interesting to watch. Drummer Daniella plays drums in a hard hitting and dynamic style. Dressed in black, she stands on her drum seat and belts out rock sounding drum lines, while guitarist and vocalist Josh confidently moves about on stage. Their set ended with Josh throwing his guitar on the ground, probably in an attempt to imitate the legendary Pete Townshend.

Ragdoll

Ragdoll graced the stage at 8.50pm with their established 80s glam metal, head-banging, anthemic and electrifying sound that has clearly been inspired by artists such as Rush, Soundgarden and Whitesnake. With minimal breaks in between songs, the power trio energised the stage, assisted by guitarist Leon’s stage jumping, hair flicking, and even Chuck Berry duck walking. Both bands proved a good choice for support, and had a decent sized audience to perform to.

Living Colour

Living Colour arrived at main stage, with vocalist Corey Glover dressed sharp in a white blazer and round shades, and dived straight into Middle Man off Vivid. The band covered most Vivid songs including Desperate People, Funny Vibe, Open Letter (To a Landlord), Talking Heads cover Memories Can’t Wait and Broken Hearts. The audience responded well to hits such as Glamour Boys, Which Way to America, and What’s Your Favourite Colour?, but Cult of Personality stole the show, as would be expected of their biggest song that originally opened audiences minds to their music in the 1980s. The band brought out some deeper hits from their catalogue, playing songs such as Ignorance is Bliss from their third studio album Stain, Come On from their 2017 album Shade, This is The Life and Love Rear’s Its Ugly Head from Time’s Up, and a cover of Blow up the Outside World by Soundgarden.

Living Colour

Vivid may be 30 years old, but the music and the context behind the album is still fresh. I respect this band for the ideology they bring forward through their music, and the political context behind their sound is still highly relevant to this day. The context behind some of the songs may be serious, but the band’s music remains upbeat, heavy and enjoyable to listen to live.

It was both amazing and nostalgic to see Living Colour on stage together, and musically they sounded as good as ever. Vernon Reid is a brilliant guitarist and his style of playing is completely underrated. With fast firing riffs, explosive runs, heavy sounding chords and Ornette Coleman-influenced harmolodic jazz solos, Reid is astonishing to watch live. Glover’s voice and stage presence are still remarkable to this day. His voice is highly versatile with amazing range and power and an ability to belt into heavy rock, funk, free jazz and more. He still hits high notes perfectly and in some compositions you can hear his R&B vocal background that he originally started with decades ago.

Living Colour

Doug Wimbish’s bass solo was particularly moving, being completely unique to any other bass solo I had heard before. He definitely was not performing standard generic runs, but rather an effect laden solo that connected with the audience and was interesting to listen to. Drummer Will Calhoun was also amazing to see live, displaying his unique blend of improvisational, multicultural and hard rocking drumming that compliments the rest of the band’s sound.

Overall, Living Colour put on a great show and Perth audiences were lucky to get a chance to see them perform their biggest album. It was a great start to the band’s national tour which will undoubtedly be a nostalgic success.

ALEXIA LARCHER

Photos by Linda Dunjey

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