Record Review: Living Colour's 'The Chair in the Doorway'

Friday, August 28, 2009

LIVING COLOUR

"The Chair in the Doorway"

Kindred spirits: Jane's Addiction, Public Enemy

Show: Tuesday at the Birchmere. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. 703-549-7500. http://www.birchmere.com.

This is going to sound a tad, well, quaint. But when Living Colour burst on the scene in the late 1980s, people were surprised to discover the musicians were rockers.

Many couldn't grasp that the African American members weren't playing R&B or rap. Yet they rocked, winning the support of Mick Jagger and Grammys before disbanding in 1995.

The group has been back since 2000 and just released "The Chair in the Doorway." When Living Colour launches its national tour Tuesday at the Birchmere, audiences will realize the band still rocks with the best of them.

This time out, its sound tips a bit more alt with plenty of laser-gun-like special effects supplementing the band's trademark throbbing guitars and percussion on songs such as "The Chair." "Bless Those (Little Annie's Prayer)" has guitar work that is arguably as sophisticated as anything Jack White and his various musical incarnations turn out, with varying tempos that take the sound from blues-tinged, Southern rock to hard rock complete with semi guitar solo.

The band even inches toward Slayer territory with "Out of My Mind," a percussion-driven creed with just enough dash to keep it rooted in alt rock.

Welcome back, Living Colour. Your music still shines bright.

-- Nancy Dunham

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