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Living Colour reminds me how I felt at 13 on my first exposure to Led Zep. But they don't just make me feel young--they make all the old hard-rock moves seem young again, too. A sort of thinking person's heavy metal band with strong jazz/funk undertones, they've become perhaps the first act since Hendrix that the punk, metal, and jazz crowds can all agree on, and in the process they remind us that metal isn't necessarily intrinsically unsuitable for serious expression. After all, these guys actually write interesting lyrics (when's the last time you heard a good song about gentrification?) and aren't above the occasional ballad. They're also one of the most explosively exciting live acts I've ever seen, period. So dig the songs, dig the singer, dig the wild and woolly rhythm section, but most of all, dig my man Vernon Reid: guitarist, shatterer of preconceptions, and walking slap in the face to the concept of format radio. A former sideman to Ronald Shannon-Jackson, Reid falls stylistically somewhere between James Blood Ulmer and Eddie Van Halen. Lots of guys can make a guitar scream, but Reid can make it scream coherently. Tonight, 7:30 PM, Riviera Night Club, 4746 N. Racine; 769-6300.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Debroah Feingold.

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