Watch David Byrne Prep for Groundbreaking 'Contemporary Color' Show - Rolling Stone
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Watch David Byrne Prep for Groundbreaking ‘Contemporary Color’ Show

Talking Heads frontman takes us inside what he calls “a mash-up of a music festival, a sports event and an artistic event”

Next month, David Byrne will introduce the world to high-brow color guard. Over four shows – June 22nd and 23rd at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, June 27th and 28th at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center – the former Talking Heads frontman pairs flag-twirling teams from around the country with original music by artists likes Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, Zola Jesus and Nelly Furtado. The result is an “arena-scale spectacle” he’s calling Contemporary Color.

Above, watch Byrne meet one of those color guard troops and explain the genesis of this new fusion. “I got the idea for Contemporary Color when a color-guard team asked to use some instrumental music that I’d done,” he explains. “It was a high school team, and I just said ‘Sure, no charge. Just send me a video of what you do, because I’m curious.’ A month went by and they sent me a video of the national championship, and I watched it and my jaw dropped and I thought, ‘I had no idea that this was going on out there.'”

The color-guard teams seem a little confused too: The video also includes interviews with two members who previously had no knowledge of Byrne’s more famous work.

Contemporary Color will feature performances from the artists above, plus How to Dress Well, Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes, Nico Muhly with Ira Glass, Money Mark and Ad-Rock, Lucius and Byrne himself. The former Talking Head originally announced the shows with a video in which he interrupts a high school’s morning announcements. See Hynes meet his own color guard counterpart, a New Jersey team called Black Watch, here.

In This Article: David Byrne


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