|Living Colour - Cardiff, The Globe - 4th December 2009|
|Written by Russ P|
|Sunday, 06 December 2009 14:34|
The Globe is packed tonight and the audience is waiting for Living Colour to hit the stage. Listen and you can hear mention of their Newport Centre gig over 15 years ago. As I say, we've waited a long time for this. And then some. Delays meant that we'd also been waiting outside for around two hours. The sensibly clad could laugh at the T-shirt wearers, but not for long as It's roasting inside.
The band first pass across the stage not to play but to get from the coach to the dressing room. Guitarist Vernon Reid brings up the rear a few minutes later with a sheepish wave to the crowd.
So, after the aforementioned wait we're treated to an intense 2-hour set kicking off with 'Vivid' favourites 'Middle Man' and 'Which Way America?' followed by 'Ausländer' from their third album. Next up are the first three tracks from new album 'The Chair in the Doorway' which make up the bulk of tonight's material interspersed with frequent returns to their debut album.
From the off Corey Glover's vocals are impeccable, powerful and effortless. The band, as you'd expect, are hot, tight and loud. Gone are the Faith No More stylings of their early years. Rather than throwing himself around the stage Corey is far more relaxed having the countenance of a hip jazz man. With the most subtle of expressions Corey gets the crowd to sing along to the intro of 'Bi' - seemingly by the use of only a slightly raised eyebrow.
Bassist Doug Wimbish is the most animated tonight. Maybe the size of the stage is prohibiting the rest of the band tonight. If so then Doug gets inspired and gets off the stage and into the crowd - not that there's much room there either - but he finds enough and proceeds to wail guitar-like distorted licks and tones encircled by astounded fans. Looking back onstage is the weirdest sight. Vernon and Corey are still at the front of stage but absolutely no one is paying them any attention. The entire front of house are all facing backwards looking at Doug who just keeps on keeping on.
Halfway through the set even Will Cahoun gets in on the 'guitar-lick' act via a twist on the drum solo. Using a variety of technology - sample pads, loops and fluorescent rim-lit cymbals, Will is able to entertain even the most drumphobic amongst us.
The only visit to 2003's 'Collideøscope' is a good choice - the soulful 'Flying' which has Vernon Reid going into a fugue-like state staring straight ahead into empty space while his fingers go into overdrive. While the cat's away the mice will play. And boy do they play. I'm not sure that even Vernon would be able to comprehend precisely what they were getting up to.
Final song 'Cult Of Personality' brought back memories of my introduction to the band in the form of a free flexi-disc on the front of Guitar Player magazine. But the feeling isn't of quaint nostalgia because the song sounds as fresh and manic as it did way back then. In fact the whole set is a testament to Living Colour's skill and consistency. The songs meld together. Old and new join seamlessly.
Living Colour come back out for one more number. An encore of 'Elvis Is Dead' with a 'Houndog' filling and now, time really is up.
Doug Wimbish in the crowd pic by Christian Davies