Lead singer Corey Glover has a calm yet explosive stage presence. He stood with fingers pressed together as the band assembled a groove behind him: fidgety wah-wah guitar from Vernon Reid, a steady tattoo from Will Calhoun on drums. Glover employed a conversational register during verses, but unveiled a full-throated roar during the hook. As the song wound to a close, Reid played a vicious solo while Glover and bassist Doug Wimbish hurled call-and-response vocals back and forth.
As a bonus digital exclusive performance, Living Colour also revisited “Wall,” which closed out their 1993 album Stain. Despite being more than two decades old, the lyrics seemed easily applicable to the present day: “We hate each other ’cause of race and religion,” Glover sang. “We hate each other ’cause of class and position.” Wimbish was the star here, anchoring the track with fierce slap-bass.
Shade is Living Colour’s first new album in eight years; the LP was inspired by a Robert Johnson tribute performance in 2012. “I think the blues is overlooked in its complexity,” Reid told Rolling Stone. “We see it so much that we don’t even see it anymore, because the familiarity breeds a kind of conceptual contempt, you know? You stop hearing ‘hellhound on my trail …,’ and what that means. So we really wanted to try to reconnect with the existential aspect of what the blues is talking about.”