By Rob Watson
Inquirer Staff Writer
World Cafe Live concertgoers took in a few chapters of black rock history Friday night. For the packed house, a mix of young and old, folkish and funky, it was a real page-turner. The belt-it-out soul grind of newcomer Danielia Cotton gave way to three hours of amazing musical dexterity from the recently regrouped Living Colour.
The buzz surrounding Cotton, from Hopewell, N.J., is already pretty high, and for good reason. Her album, Small White Town, is full of honkytonk rock/soul that's part Tina Turner, part Melissa Etheridge.
The stunning Cotton, backed by three-piece band the Pistoleros, tore through album tracks "Pride" and "It's Only Life" before bringing down the house with the suddenly ironic "Back in Black" by AC/DC.
Living Colour's marathon session (more than 14 songs) wore everyone out.
The rock foursome - whose late-'80s hit, "Cult of Personality," seems to ring more true as time passes - kept eyes and ears popping as it ripped pages from its back catalog.
Opening with "Memories Can't Wait," off the first album, Vivid, vocalist Corey Glover, stand-out guitar player Vernon Reid, bassist Doug Wimbish, and drummer Will Calhoun reminded everyone of their considerable talents.
Glover's voice sounded as soulful as it did years ago, losing none of the emotional commitment required for such rock ballads as "Love Rears Its Ugly Head" and "Time's Up," one of the many politically charged tracks that have stood the test of time.
Reid's playing is a must-see, and even then you'll blink and miss about six or seven notes. Wimbish's and Calhoun's solos dabbled in electronic wizardry, with the bassist leading the band through the new backwoods soul track, "Either Way."
Contact staff writer Rob Watson at 215-854-5608 or email@example.com