Colour Revolt rocks The Cradle at the Middle East, 9/12/10

by mikeflanagan1

 Colour Revolt full set - Boston, MA 9/12/10Click here or above, to watch the full set on Vimeo. The video quality is significantly inferior to the one I’d love to upload…If anyone knows of a great place to upload a ridiculously large video file, let me know. Preferably one that takes less than 33 hours, but I’ll take it either way.

Watching two lesbians tongue on a mechanical bull…

…Is a bit like listening to Colour Revolt’s new album, The Cradle. It’s aggressively captivating, intensely intimate, and so wrought with shameless passion that it’s almost impossible not to take in. In the face of unthinkable adversity, Colour Revolt produced a collection of their most lyrically direct and musically abrasive songs yet.

The Cradle does everything it can to validate two ideas around which rock & roll has revolved since its inception: 1) that the guitar is a limitless instrument and 2) that a band with nothing to lose is in its truest, most unadulterated, and, if the potential is already there, utterly unstoppable form.

After losing three out of five band members last year, duel vocalists, guitarists, and songwriters Jesse Coppenbarger and Sean Kirkpatrick wasted no time capsulating that feeling of loss in the form of standout tracks like “8 Years,” “Our Names,” and “Everything is the Same.” Now they’re out playing the majority of their outstanding, relentlessly loud, and small club-friendly new record in dives all throughout the U.S. with new band members and the same above-and-beyond energy that has become customary to Colour Revolt’s small but devoted following.

Turbo Fruits, a fun little rock band out of Nashville, kept the stage warm for Colour Revolt with their heavier take on surf-rock. Despite a few seemingly contrived leaps during guitar solos and a distracting (and well documented with my Flipcam) drunkard trying to rush the stage before his body promptly shut down at the very end of the set, Turbo Fruits set the energy level in the Middle East high enough for Colour Revolt to tip it right over the edge.

Soon after the guests of honor took the stage to set up, Coppenbarger began constructing a wall of guitar noise and ambience, methodically tapping his pedals and gently caressing his guitar strings. As he worked, the band finished tuning and they dived seamlessly into “Our Names” without producing the slightest splash. After a few light tweaks of their tuning knobs, the band went right into the scorching “We Don’t Talk,” complete with Coppenbarger’s signature spontaneous yelps and rusty guitar solo.

Without giving the momentum one second to die, Colour Revolt crashed into one of The Cradle‘s more daunting numbers, “Heartbeat”. Following a short pause, during which Coppenbarger introduced the band, charmingly adding “we’re from the South,” they met the many requests for old songs with “Our Homes are Graves,” one of three songs from the debut six-song EP that would rush off the stage during the set.

Coppenbarger and Kirkpatrick seemed to get an equal rush from their old songs, which also included “Mattresses Underwater” and “A New Family,” as they did from playing songs off The Cradle. The dual vocal screeches and spontaneous, demonstrative guitar lines were just as amplified, if not more so, as they were on songs like “The Cradle.”

But the new album’s lead single seemed to invoke a different vigor from the two founding members. Coppenbarger and Kirkpatrick’s tendency to insert blood-curdling screams where they seem totally unnecessary is most prominent in “8 Years,” the song Coppenbarger told AP he wrote the day his band went from a six- to a two-piece. “It got kind of surreal / I can’t believe that things got worse / Because one man’s limo is another man’s hearse,” Coppenbarger howled in a voice just a bit nervier than that of the album version.

The emotionally enhanced versions of “8 Years” and “A New Family” set up the standout Cradle track “Mona Lisa” to drive the set to an explosive end. The central lick of the song sees Colour Revolt at its absolute pinnacle of heavy guitar prowess, as Coppenbarger and Kirkpatrick trade chug for squeal before slipping into a classic rock-flavored verse. But for all its captivating guitar work, “Mona Lisa’s” best quality might be its starkly straightforward subject matter. Coppenbarger explains to AP:

This is about a bad night with a good girl (or vice versa). Once, I found myself on some anonymous bedroom floor. I was on Xanax with a girl and her friend, begging me to kiss her. She wasbegging for me to kiss her. I couldn’t understand why, until I found out weeks later, I had kissed her the night before while I was on Xanax. Don’t do Xanax. You don’t remember kissing hot girls.

That brash honesty is what makes The Cradle such a monumental album for Colour Revolt and an absolutely vital landmark in their frequently hard-knocked but feisty career. The Cradle shows that Colour Revolt is one of the few contemporary bands that gets it Their debut blood-sweat-and-tears-drenched full-length, Plunder, Beg, and Curse, by some standards, bombed, and 75 percent of their band quit. So what do they do? They made an album that helped them deal with what happened to their livelihood. What they did to reach other people is, though, I’m sure, welcome, purely coincidental.

However, a safe distance from any effort to further their career might have been what Colour Revolt needed to revive it. The Cradle is proof that if this band is not still blazing through our cities in a year’s time, it is through no fault of theirs. Colour Revolt has given the world a masterfully crafted product, whether the world still wants to be against them or not.