[LIVE REVIEW] The Living Colour w/ Massive @ 170 Russell , Melbourne 12/05/2017

Review Jodi Marino

When it comes to iconic bands, there are very few who can rival the legendary Living Colour.

Hailing from New York, and have been together for the best part of 30 years (with a 5-year spell from 1995 through to 2000 apart) the fanbase they have gathered is both huge, and eclectic.

Having a musical style that includes shades of such genres as rock, metal, funk, jazz, punk, jive and hip-hop, their appeal is broad spread, and their fans come from such a large cross section of people.

Winning a Grammy Award in 1990 for Best Hard Rock Performance for the anthem Cult Of Personality, from their debut album Vivid, the band featuring Vernon Reid on guitar, Will Calhoun on drums, Corey Glover on vocals and Doug Wimbish on bass, these veterans have the perfect chemistry which has stood the test of time. So that being said, when the opportunity arose to be able to review this amazing group, I grabbed it with both hands and ran.

Supporting Living Colour on this tour are one of Melbourne’s, if not Australia’s most underrated rock acts, Massive. Starting out in 2012, they have come to add quite a few impressive accolades to their resume. Having not long returned from touring through the UK and Europe, where their fan base has been expanding rapidly, the boys had a small break and spent some time writing new music and are now back in the swing of it, not only being chosen for this lucrative support role, but also preparing to go back overseas again to join some huge names on a UK festival tour.

Although the headline acts usually are the ones who draw the crowds, Massive had a sizeable number of people in the house to see their set. With their trademark hard rocking style, they opened up and launched straight into a set jam-packed with wholesome good old fashioned hard rock songs. A little variance to their usual line up saw founders Brad Marr (vocals and guitar), and Jarrod Medwin (drums) joined for the night by Ben Laguda (guitar) and another of Melbourne’s premier artists, Mark Robbins from Cicadastone (bass). Anyone who had not known Massive before tonight would definitely know them now, and they undoubtedly won over a whole host of new fans. Performing such songs as Up In Smoke, Dancefloor, One By One and One For The Road, had the crowd rocking out at every turn. The banter between songs proved that they certainly are not pretentious and that they appreciate and recognize the amazing position they have found themselves in. Enjoying a few beers along the way, they continued with Bring Down the City, Blood Money Blues and Ghost before thanking the crowd and encouraging them to continue to support local artists like themselves. Reminding punters they had merch at the merch stand and would be there after their set to speak with friends and fans alike. The end of their set had come by way too quickly as they closed with Now or Never.

For anyone who is a fan, either new or old, the boys will be playing one and only one headline show before heading back to the UK at The Evelyn Hotel on the 3rd of June.

[LIVE REVIEW] The Living Colour w/ Massive @ 170 Russell , Melbourne 12/05/2017
[LIVE REVIEW] The Living Colour w/ Massive @ 170 Russell , Melbourne 12/05/2017

Turning to take a look around the venue once the stage was cleared, I was completely gobsmacked at exactly how full the venue really was. Bordering on looking like it was oversold, as every square inch was jam packed with fans. I was eager to see the reaction of the band to such a huge welcoming crowd.

As the stage lights dimmed and the background music played, the crowd shuffled that tiny bit closer, making it a very intimate environment indeed.

Mr. Doug Wimbish was the first to enter the stage to a rousing round of applause and whistles. Will Calhoun, Corey Glover, and Vernon Reid followed to an equally deafening greeting. With a wry smile, it was evident Corey was suitably impressed with the gathering that stood before him.

It was then the magic began. Starting out with Preachin’ Blues which is their standard opener, the sea of bodies started to sway.

Leading then straight into Wall followed by Middle Man.

It was only then that Corey removed his dark sunglasses and said, “Oh, by the way, we are Living Colour”  

Desperate People. Funny Vibe and MYOB were next out of the gate, by which time the fans were mostly lost in the music, moving in an almost mesmerized state and with most looking like the cats who got the cream with grins of pure pleasure adorning most faces.

One of my own personal faves, Ignorance is Bliss was an absolute aural delight. In tribute to the infamous Christopher Wallace aka Biggie Smalls, they did a fantastic rendition of Who Shot Ya and then the brilliant Nothingness.

A crowd favorite, Landlord, showcased the love the fans have as they sang back in unison with passion and volume.

Vernon and Corey commence their comical banter, giving the impression they were antagonizing each other when in actual fact they probably are more like brothers who could never be without one another. This is the perfect segway to Elvis is Dead, another great opportunity for the crowd to get vocal, with Corey slotting in a short burst of Hound Dog for good measure.

Doug Wimbish takes us on an amazing journey as he puts on a display of his ridiculously amazing talents on bass. Some of what he does would be difficult on a six string guitar, let alone five string bass!! He caresses his  Spector and draws such a beautiful and unique sound from it.

The moment that many fans waited eagerly for, with one of the best known Living Colour songs, Love Rears Its Ugly Head.  The volume seemed to gain some considerable decibels from the crowd as they joined in to sing the classic. Type followed on and then it was Mr. Will Calhoun’s time to shine. Giving us an unmistakable trademark drum solo that is not only a thing of beauty to your ears, but with the lowering of the lights, it was also a visual splendor. The bright blue LED lit drumsticks allowing us to visibly see exactly how coordinated and fast his hand movements actually are. Anyone who did not already respect his drumming prowess surely would after witnessing such a spectacle.

Cult of Personality being the pinnacle of any Living Colour set was where we thought the show would close, but after finishing a superb version of it. We were then treated to Glamour Boys, and an exceptional rendition of The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go. Getting his mouth around words at a superhuman speed, Corey spits them out with ease.

[LIVE REVIEW] The Living Colour w/ Massive @ 170 Russell , Melbourne 12/05/2017
[LIVE REVIEW] The Living Colour w/ Massive @ 170 Russell , Melbourne 12/05/2017

Finally closing with What’s Your Favourite Colour it was a show that was more than satisfying. It left me feeling privileged to have been witness to such a fantastic performance. 

With several dates left on the tour, it would be remiss of me not to encourage everyone to try to get to one of the remaining shows.

 Check out Zaccaria Concerts and Touring for dates and venues.