Given the dizzying range of choices at a five-day event like CMJ, it's hard for a single gig to stand out as a sure thing from its listing alone. One that did, however, was Friday's "Living Colour acoustic set at [Pete Wentz co-owned bar] Angels & Kings," part of WRXP's "Pull the Plug" series at the venue. The show was missing from the official CMJ schedule but announced a few days prior via press release and the band's Twitter feed, resulting in a lively but very manageable crowd of the legendary rock quartet's true friends and fans.
Stageless and semi-plugged in the bar's corner, Corey Glover, Vernon Reid, Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun powered through hits like "Cult of Personality" and "Glamour Boys," as well as tracks from their recent release, "The Chair in the Doorway". The band is currently on tour to support the new studio effort, and will put on a fully-electrified New York show at the Highline Ballroom on Oct. 30, but this was speakeasy, funk-lounge Living Colour--there was no loss of energy, but the setting offered prominence to Glover's evocative, soulful vocals and Wimbish's nimble, driving bass.
Living Colour was largely responsible for reintegrating rock and funk in the late 1980s, and this bare-bones, smoke-and-mirrorless gathering was a thrilling demonstration of the band's collective raw talent. Fierce.