Live Music + Gig Reviews

3 Colours Red @ Islington Academy, London

28 September 2005


3 Colours Red

3 Colours Red

Target audience is the buzzword many an A&R man converses in. These days you can’t be signed unless a certain constituency is identified. So, it numbs the mind when some bands are signed with no clear market in mind, and with little apparent hope of carving one out for themselves.

That’s the impression you get as you labour through the beer and biceps of New Yorkers The Smash-Up. Their testosterone fuelled hard rock could be used as the furiously loud soundtrack to an ultra violent video game.

Better still, the Pentagon could procure 100,000 of their CDs and pop them into the tanks deployed in Iraq. Then your regular trigger happy Joe can happily drive around blasting ‘insurgents’ with overwhelming force screaming “kill, kill, kill!” Smash it up? Give us a hell, yeah!

No the show proper tonight doesn’t really start until The Yo-Yo’s show up. Even though they claim to have given up on giving up, Danny McCormack and co.look in terrific shape. After years of senseless pedalling on Uppers and Downers, the new EP was showcased with vintage gusto. So much so, that you’d be forgiven for mistaking them for headliners, such was response from the floor. But there was no doubting about who and why we were all here for.

3 Colours Red hit the big time at an awkward point in the mid ’90s. Signed to Creation, they were envisioned to be selling bucket loads and playing the kind of venues Oasis were swallowing in onestep.

By 1999 Britpop had heaved. Nu-metal was rife. The ‘Red upped the ante with Revolt, treading a fine line between production and pushing the rawness of Pure into a record welcomed by the critics which steadily propelled them into the limelight. But the ship was shaking, and the band split spectacularly at what seemed the moment the tide was turning, with a rammed second stage headline slot at the Reading and Leeds festivals.

The prospect of The ‘Red reforming in 2003 was a genuinely warm one, but when they eventually put out The Union Of Souls, it was a convoluted mess. A shame, but considering the band were under pressure to further their sound in a post Strokes, and as it was soon to be, post Franz Ferdinand market, which is as volatile as it is fickle, it came as no surprise. And so with little fanfare it was left to a briefly worded email dispatched to the band’s mailing list that The ‘Red announced their decision to split.

As they took to the stage this final time to the looped intro of Paralyze, the memories of ten years of thrills and spills were condensed into a breathless hour. That it was in a small, swanky venue oddly located in the innards of a North London shopping mall perhaps wasn’t Hollywood as Vuckovic had imagined it.

Almost ironically this was a band tighter, more road ready and firing on all cylinders than I had seen on many other occasions. There was an air of acceptance from everyone, band included, knowing that there was no place for them in this world anymore – The World Is Yours was the only showing from the new record.

Knowing this, they played their hearts out as the fans sung theirs, barely displaying an emotion as apart of their life ebbed away uncontrollably in the flash of a greatest hits set. With an encore of Beautiful Day and a defiant Hateslick it was over. The band darted off in a hurry. Just as the specially printed shirts had indicated, it was Thank You and Good Night.


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More on 3 Colours Red
3 Colours Red @ Islington Academy, London
3 Colours Red’s Pete Vuckovic: “The minute you get out and people love your band, that moment you can’t beat” – Interview
3 Colours Red – The Union Of Souls
3 Colours Red @ University, Manchester