A gig I’ve seriously looked forward to has been for my first 2020 live experience of local (Huddbradfax) men Full Colour, comprising of five talented teens.
First up onto the stage this evening were Liverpool’s MiG 15. I bumped into some friends who catch MiG 15 wherever they can, and I totally got the vibe. MiG 15 have an enviable easy 80’s electronic tinged pop accessibility and a live personality with confidence and charm in spades.
Most of the audience perhaps didn’t know the tunes but they were accessible, well crafted, and easy on the ear. Lead singer Adam Bray and bassist James McCluskey (incidently, son of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s Andy McCluskey), in particular, engaged naturally with the audience and made their performance special. Both guys have strong and good vocals, which offer a good diversity.
At the end of the show and to close the evening were Love Fame and Tragedy, the alternative vehicle for Wombats lead singer Murph. I recognise The Wombats class and celebrate the bangers but I can’t love everybody.
To my ear Love Fame and Tragedy have a more even and darker sound and it was a good mature performance that I enjoyed even more than anticipated (although I missed some of it chatting in the other room and didn’t realise they had started). It was kind of like witnessing Paul Weller as opposed to The Jam.
Full Colour’s musical development over the past 12 months has been quite something to behold, and I’ve tried to absorb as much of it as possible. That sense of continued fast paced evolution was evident in the 7 song set list with 4 new songs, and where 2 new songs outside of last year’s EP which were given an airing on tour in November, Don’t Wait For Me and Strangers were popped back onto a hanger in the wardrobe this time around.
It also says something really positive that what were old favourites Back To Me, Butterfly Brain and even the bands current signature tune Miles Apart were eclipsed by the new tunes. I will always love the “Jeepster/ Get It On” (T.Rex) guitar line vibe of Miles Apart but I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before we shed a period of regret and some of these old favourites will be packed up for the charity shop.
At the interview I conducted with guitarist Will and vocalist Conrad, they explained the new tech which enabled them to draw out stronger patterns in the tunes and a richer fuller sound and I agree this totally came through best in the new tracks. On the first new track played Somebody, the lead guitars were at two different trajectories, but both were determined to reach the same destination, while Conrad’s voice built the song up into a banging chorus of heartache.
There’s a lot placed onto Conrad’s vocals, given there are no backing vocalists live in the band, and the stronger loops really pulled his voice through. As a (somewhat) classical trained vocalist, I always admire Conrad’s vocal technique, which feels quite choral to my ear, and again live, he gave a pleasing mix of strong timbre and an elegant complexity into his voice. In the studio I bet that when Conrad nails it, his vocal is truly pretty impossible to top. I’m going to definitely look forward to the new recordings when they emerge.
On new track Flatline there was a new level to the band with different layers of sound, and I totally got the band’s explanation that the new tracks really sound more like Full Colour now. It’s like the Full Colour band have moved onto HD.
I felt Dillon’s drumming had come through when I saw the band last before Christmas, and again this time round his drums were hard to fault. I hate saying this, but when I can’t hear the drums as a separate entity then it’s spot on. Dillon nailed it as he was right in the mix.
I was stood in front of Henry and his Fender bass this time around and here the beats also felt blended and confident with a good consistent tone and a great ear for timing. I like a ‘lazy’ bassist where things feel relaxed, and where an occasional space can speak louder than the notes. It takes an ear to make it work and with the new fuller, busier pattern laden sound overall, Henry has found his sweet spot.
The guitar aces (Will and Alex) meantime seem to have also matured. The performance was more solid and full of substance. The two men have never been shy to play their own line and then blend it together.
Alex has in the past felt in my head a little separate to the rest of the band, and while he was stood just a tad adrift to the one side here (he is a big lad so needs physical space), there was plenty of fun interaction with Conrad, with the pair clearly enjoying the vibe together. I’ve noticed the band move the guys into different places at gigs, which also helps make the band appear much closer.
The band were well received at Leeds with some of the yells of the band’s mates raising a smile and a smirk with Conrad and the guys. Of course, the new songs were…well, new, to most of us. Perhaps too, your average Love Fame and Tragedy gig goer is a more static kind of gig attendee, so it was only right towards the end where the vibe really got swaying in the audience. I’m certainly not saying the audience wasn’t enjoying discovering Full Colour and it was great to see new fans discovering them.
It’s clear Full Colour have laid further solid foundations where their music will be appreciated by energetic head banger and cerebral foot rapper alike. Once those new tunes bed in a bit more and become as familiar as the ones on the first EP, the band will fly further.
You can catch the band doing some of the support slots for gigs for Night Cafe in April, and they also play Live at Leeds and Sound City in Liverpool in May.
* Images of Full Colour taken from the band’s social media and produced by one of the best music photographers I’ve seen, shots.by.tom.