Wednesday, June 2, 2010


For the second night in a row, I went to Mexicali Live in Teaneck, New Jersey to see one of my favorite bands.  This time it was Living Colour. I've seen them at The Ritz, The Beacon Theater, Shea Stadium (opening for The Rolling Stones), Central Park Summerstage (where they are playing this weekend), Roseland and The Academy, to name a few venues of the top of my head. Tonight was kind of a weird one: Mexicali is sort of a restraunt, LC were playing the early show, and people were still at their tables.  Frontman Corey Glover wasn't happy about it. Understandably: but I was worried that he'd have an attitude about it and that it would effect the show.

Luckily, that didn't happen.  Although he voiced his sort of discomfort about the show throughout the night, seemingly blaming it on guitarist Vernon Reid, he still gave a great performance, if not the best one I've ever seen. I've always thought of him as a star, and he performs like one. The thing about Corey is that he could have just as easily joined another more commercial band, and been just as happy.  Whereas Vernon Reid is so avant-garde with his playing, I could just as easily see him playing a guitar through a computer on the ground floor of an art museum that receives grants from David Bowie. It is almost surprising that he has ended up being in a band as popular as Living Colour, he could have ended up doing Phillip Glass type stuff. So it is a weird combination of two very different guys in the band. (That said, Vernon could also play guitar for Dionne Warwick or someone real mainstream also). The other guys, bassist Doug Wimbush and drummer Will Calhoun, could play any kind of music, but like Vernon, left to their own devices they could be doing Knitting Factory art stuff. All that being the case, I think Vernon, Doug and Will are happy to play thier music and get paid for it, even if they aren't playing huge rooms. This is all my perception of the band.

Anyway, they were great. It wasn't the best Living Colour show I've seen (Will was having drum pedal issues) but they were great, and after a slow start, the crowd got into it. Maybe half the crowd were familiar with the new album, The Chair In The Doorway, which came out last year. It has definitely been growing on me. The song "Bless Those" holds up to anything they've ever done.  Check out a video below of them performing it in 2008, before The Chair was released (on this version, Doug took most of the lead vocals, but now Corey sings it). They played a bunch of other new songs, but of course the best reaction was the oldre songs, "Cult of Personality," their cover of Talking Heads' "Memories Can't Wait," "Love Rears It's Ugly Head," "Go Away," "Middle Man" and "Type." They also did the lovely "Solace Of You" by request for a couple who had it played at their wedding. Another nice moment: Doug Wimbush calling out original bassist Muzz Skillings who was in the audience. Nice moments aside, I wish  I could go to Central Park this weekend, I bet it will be a way better show, and when they are on thier game, Living Colour is hard to beat.

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