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Legendary American rock band Living Colour will bring their iconic album Vivid, released thirty years ago in 1988, to Australia this December.
This album pushed the boundaries of rock’s musical style, infused with elements of funk and hip-hop with now-legendary guitars and bass skill. Most importantly, it harnessed a social voice for many, which was missing from the rock scene of the day. This year, Living Colour is bringing Vivid in its entirety to Australia to celebrate thirty years of some of their most renowned songs.
When Vivid was released in 1988, it ran seismic waves through the music scene of the times. Vocalist Corey Glover knows the power of holding strong convictions, as he tell us, “I think Vivid came out of a time when there was a lot of music that was doing little differently, it was very corporate, very middle-road, nothing with a point of view was being seen by the mainstream. A lot of what was being, a lot of what you were seeing in popular culture wasn’t of a particular point of view … and I think we came across with a bit a bit of a point of view, we came across with a particular look, and there was a socio-analytical aspect to what we were doing, that not a lot of bands were doing, that not a lot of bands could do, because they weren’t African-Americans.”
… the cost of living has gone up, and nobody is being taken into account. People need somewhere to live, they have to have a roof over their heads, and people should be able to afford it, with the right to have affordable housing.
[ Corey Glover ]
Vivid undoubtedly made important interventions in the musical landscape of the times, as Glover continues, “I think we sort of gave a voice a stratum of people who were not serviced,” he reflects. “There were people of different stripes out there, and we came along, I think, in a wave of those kind of bands … Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Jane’s Addiction … a bunch of bands came out of that era with a different point of view than what we’d normally see in mainstream culture.”
Mainstream music culture has always been a point of contention for Living Colour, and Glover has strong opinions about it. “I think it’s changed a lot”, he ponders on how mainstream music has changed since Vivid’s release. “At the same time,” he continues, “I think a lot has become very … entrenched, that mainstream music … at its inception … is a way of selling something, and I think that’s never going to change to a certain degree.”
Vivid contains some of Living Colour’s most well-known tracks, such as Cult Of Personality, and Open Letter To A Landlord, which addressed one of the pertinent socio-economic issues of the late 1980s–gentrification, that was not colour-blind. Glover remains unrepentant for his rage that created this song. “What we were saying,” he states unwaveringly, “is that the right to live is a human right, not a luxury, the right to have a roof over your head is not a luxury, it’s a right, that everyone should be able to afford.”
I believe its time for the arts to really speak to what’s going on in the world. The art has to really reflect what’s happening in the world.
[ Corey Glover ]
One supposes these issues voiced so passionately on Vivid are just as relevant today. “Oh absolutely,” Glover agrees, “And it is still relevant here in New York City. It’s still relevant in most cityscapes. The whole idea is that places that were once extremely affordable now have become less so … the cost of living has gone up, and nobody is being taken into account. People need somewhere to live, they have to have a roof over their heads, and people should be able to afford it, with the right to have affordable housing. “
Music has always been a powerful medium to communicate and express the experiences of life, as every fan of Living Colour knows. Glover agrees, seeing an ever-necessary role for music in the current world: “I believe its time for the arts to really speak to what’s going on in the world. The art has to really reflect what’s happening in the world.”
With potent currency still today, Vivid’s thirtieth anniversary is coming to Australia alongside a selection of Living Colour’s extensive hits. On what we can expect as well as Vivid’s iconic tracks, Glover informs us that we can expect a full range of Living Colour’s discography. “Well we will definitely play some stuff from Shade ,”he begins, “we’ll play some of the other songs from Time’s Up  and Collideøscope , and we will give you a whole gamut of whatever we have room for, but mostly it will be about Vivid. Songs we maybe haven’t played on the road for a very long time, like I personally want to hear stuff like Broken Hearts, and I want to hear us do stuff like I Want To Know, I haven’t heard that in a long time.”
Living Colour’s live set is renowned as one of the most engaging and enjoyable shows you can ever attend. Glover is humble regarding this accolade, as he invites Living Colour’s fans to share the fun, “it’s a chance to really stretch out, you know, we have a really good time with each other on stage, so I think that translates to the audience.”
LIVING COLOUR 30th ANNIVERSARY AUSTRALIA TOUR:
Sat 15 December // Astor Theatre Perth // Perth
Mon 17 December // The Gov // Adelaide
Wed 19 December // 170 Russell // Melbourne
Thu 20 December // Triffid // Brisbane
Fri 21 December // The Northern // Byron Bay
Sat 22 December // Metro Theatre // Sydney