Saturday, January 15, 2005

LIVING COLOUR - Live from CBGB's
(Epic/Legacy)***


Released online last October but only now available in retail stores, this Living Colour live album is part of a Legacy Records series called Live From the Vaults . The other two titles in the series are Soul Asylum's After the Flood: Live from the Grand Forks Prom and Toad the Wet Sprocket's Welcome Home: Live at the Arlington Theater . Given that neither Soul Asylum nor Toad were particularly good live acts, the Living Colour title is the best of the three.

This concert, recorded at CBGB in 1989, mostly features songs from the band's debut. But it also includes tracks from its second album (not yet released at the time), a Bad Brains cover and two songs not found on any studio recording. The show begins with the hard rocking hit “Cult of Personality” and follows a pretty direct trajectory until “Funny Vibe,” a tune that lets the band's terrific rhythm section (bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun) stretch out. Even then-new songs such as “Information Overload” and “Pride” sound well-rehearsed and tight. And that's the great thing about Living Colour — as much as it had a political agenda, musical dynamics and fierce jams never took a backseat.

*blog note - rhythm section should say Muzz Skillings

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