ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SEBASTIAN MARINO
ALL PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED SEBASTIAN MARINO
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.
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.
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.
MASSIVE – DESTINATION SOMEWHERE (2016)
Release Date: 22th April 2016
℗ 2016 Earache Records Ltd
Band Members: Brad Marr, Jarrod Medwin, Aidan McGarrigle, Brendan Forward
Australian arse kickers Massive are about to release their latest instalment in Destination Somewhere. April 22 2016, for many, will not come fast enough. Now, those of you familiar with their sensational party sound will immediately notice something different. Something earnest and determined. A fresh edge with this album that truly illustrates the bands understanding of the multifaceted rock genre. The individual experience of each band member is hereby made manifest in a serious collective assault on the global market. Let’s explore further.
One For The Road provides the pathway for traditional followers into the new sound. The early release of this track demonstrates several critical components of the group’s contemporary professionalism. The first is a solid grasp of their traditional audiences taste for solid rock and roll. This is by no means a marketing ploy to bait the faithful but more an acknowledgement of their loyal supporters and an invitation for them to take the journey onward and upward. The second constituent immediately obvious with this release is that the best of their previous work in Full throttle, is the least you can expect from this album. The third and most critical consideration afforded this release has to be the incredible talent and hard rock edge of lead guitarist Brendan Forward. Although this man is a relatively humble and unassuming protagonist, his influence and skill seems to have lifted each band member to a whole new level of excellence. And yes, thanks very much Jarrod. Prompted to shoot a shot with every utterance of the word ‘one’, by the finale of first listening, I must admit to being thoroughly trousered. But that’s where the fun and pub culture of drinking game frivolity ends for Massive. With their international exposure and experience under their collective belts, it becomes evident that it’s ‘game on’ for their future and their career. This is a serious album for a next level group, intent on domination.
Blood Money Blues smacks of serious hard rock with a light sprinkling of bluegrass but an enormous helping of hooks. This one will be a certain crowd favourite, and again would be an obvious choice for early release. But Massive have obviously considered their traditional fan base, and opted for the former. Sinking Ship….Jarrod…that cowbell! But here we go with yet another dimension to the brilliant rock appreciation afforded to each track, this time with a sound typical of waaaay down south. An instant rock classic. Just add beer, a crowd and Brendan’s riffage. Mid track Adam takes the lead with his sensational rhythmic stylings and invites the remaining members to pop back and rock your socks off. Just brilliant. Hooks a plenty.
The Fall will have you helpless to get involved. Again, representative of an alternative hard rock direction. Brad’s delivery is brilliantly bipolar. Retrained and relaxed through to ferocious. I can only imagine the choice of undergarment required to produce the upper scale heights of vocal delivery for Brad. Hope the lads are ok man. But seriously the solos are brilliantly entwined in this killer track. This exploration of their tremendous diversity and capabilities will surely result in widespread success.
With Made Of Stone we further explore how Brendan’s influence and capabilities have provided an incredibly influential dimension to Massive’s collective creativity and a fresh edge to classic rock track creativity. Oh yeah, you’ll hear Slash in there made manifest in Brendan, right alongside a host of your old school rock favourites. Magnificent.
Destination Somewhere is almost a ballad in opening, but fast becomes a rock jewel with more hooks than your local BCF. Yet another brilliant display of the groups contemporary edge, doubtless gleaned from their considerable global experience and exposure. The aforementioned sentiments remain consistent to the finale, so they are yours to explore without my repetitive references and enthusiastic celebrations. This is of course right up until the sensational, and beautifully sequenced Beaten Dog. The perfect end to this genre wide demonstration of understand and superiority. Right down to slide guitar.
This album is a brilliant progression for Massive and likely the one that brings about the arguments at the future meet and greets of ‘well, I was into them when….’ A tremendous progressions from their previous release, but I suspect with the journey three years on, they expected something special from themselves.
Pre orders for Destination Somewhere are available at
Saturday, April 23: The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
Supporting The Screaming Jets
Fri, May 6: Hallam Hotel – Victoria
Sat, May 7: The Corner Hotel – Melbourne
Fri, May 13: The Governor Hindmarsh – Adelaide
Sat, May 14: Charles Hotel – Perth
Fri, May 20: Villa Noosa Hotel – Sunshine Coast
Sat, May 21 – Hamilton Hotel – Brisbane
Sun, May 22 – Blue Mountain Hotel – Toowoomba
Thurs, May 26: Bridge Hotel – Rozelle, NSW
Fri, May 27; Rooty Hill RSL – Rooty Hill, NSW
Sat, May 28: 16’s Belmont – NSW
MASSIVE – FULL THROTTLE
The most apt band name and album title put together that you are ever likely to see. When you spin the latest release form Massive and are thrown this way and that by the opening track, you are indeed catapulted at Full Throttle into this collection of adrenaline fuelled rock hits in waiting.
Best Of Both Worlds, calms toward the finale as Kristy Jinx serenades us back to a state of virtual calm in preparation for Big Trend Setter. The relaxation is, however short lived and the blood pumps so hard again I’m tempted to keep the defibrillator close by.
The struggle to keep you head still is quite remarkable, simply because this album immediately removes your ability to sit still. If you love classic rock, contemporary rock, heavy rock or classic heavy metal, you will love this work by Massive. The band clearly take the essential elements from all of these genres and entwine them in their own sound masterfully. The resulting effect is that you can hear familiar elements in every piece, but can’t quite decide what blast from the past you are hearing. The truth is you are hearing the familiar elements powerfully freshened in a tremendous exuberant sound achieved by Massive. The craft clearly purveyed by the group, and dare I say mastered, is the ability to make every track a catchy one sure to reverberate in the cerebral band room well after the aural intake has ceased.
Every element of the music is perfectly performed, from precision percussion, to blistering riffs throughout, the planets are in alignment for Massive. It truly leaves you wondering what’s next for the band. And our lead Brad Marr possessed one of those powerful voices that are the envy of all who can’t sing well and even many of those who can. Even the most accomplished orator of lyrics will struggle to match the strength and sheer range of this Massive man.
Track five is a song that the gentlemen won’t mind hitting the Dancefloor, but we might want to move the handbags and forget the waltz because this won’t be pretty, and rightly so.
The title track has you hanging onto whatever, to steady yourself for the onslaught of astonishingly thrilling Full throttle.
And of course Ghost is next and takes you thoroughly by surprise. One Twitter fan put the words ‘instant classic’ to my recent comments on this track. I have to agree. This chilling and astonishingly magnificent track is wonderful in harmonic complexity and the lyrics are delivered with such passion and commitment by Brad, it surely will result in becoming an ‘instant classic’ enjoyed by the masses. Thank you Maria. Building beautifully from the sounds of old school metal and hard rock ballads, this tremendously brilliant track culminates to a mighty and uplifting crescendo. I would like to say that the entire album is a worthwhile purchase for this track alone, however I would not want to be responsible for people purchasing this as a single, purely because it is of paramount importance on the album. It provides a complete musical picture of the groups astounding talent and although wonderful on its own, in its production place on the album makes it a truly triumphant achievement, and in perfect musical context. It really is best celebrated as in integral component of the entire album.
I am immediately taken back to my own ventures through Hollywood and reminded of the scenery and inherent truth strewn throughout this region of Los Angeles, where the gutters run rich with the hopes and dreams of so many.
Lacey provides us yet another fantastic experience as we are taken to a magical blend of old school rock n roll and modern hard rock. Bobby socks and battle jacket? Brilliant.
The album is completed with a sure favourite for those who enjoy Massive’s mighty sound. If you have seen this track live, you know how keenly awaited it is, and for those yet to see the band in full flight, you will seldom be alone in ‘going off’ when you hear the opening feedback fed riff of One By One.
This is one of those rare albums that finds you scouring the papers and web pages for when you can see Massive live and local, before a shrewd and knowing label whisks them off to lands far away.