Earlier this year Australian art-rock group The Red Paintings released their much anticipated debut full-length album The Revolution Is Never Coming. Much has been said and written about this album, like the amount of years it took to make and the accompanying costs, but in the end The Revolution Is Never Coming is a masterpiece and it ranks high on my Album of the Year list. Another aspect of The Red Paintings is their art-inspired live show, and according to my colleague Down Under, Gilbert Potts, this was something I shouldn’t miss if the opportunity ever came along. And last night I had this opportunity as Trash McSweeney and his Red Paintings were in Edinburgh as part of their European tour supporting Mindless Self Indulgence.
When I walked in the venue opening band The Dead Betas were already playing their set of bouncy pop-punk and I noticed that I wasn’t going to be one of the younger audience members. The place was full with young teenage kids and their parents surrounding the pack keeping a close eye on their offspring. As 9 out of 10 kids were wearing a Mindless Self Indulgence t-shirt I was wondering if I was the only person there actually knowing The Red Paintings. So, when the band came on stage to kick off with ‘Wasps’, one of the singles of the album, I was indeed one of the very few nodding my head and singing along. The sound at this stage wasn’t the best, but luckily this got resolved very quickly. ‘Wasps’ is a great song and on the album it’s the fourth track at a point where the album really starts taking off, so it was an interesting set opener.
Trash McSweeney was in the company of a cellist, a violinist, a big drum kit and drummer, a bass player, a painter and another painter painting a human canvas, so the stage wasn’t particularly big as they had to stand in front of the Mindless Self Indulgence backline. But this didn’t prevent The Red Paintings in putting on a very decent effort and they effortlessly steered into the next couple of tracks ‘You’re Not One Of Them’ and ‘It Is As It Was’. Trash’s vocals were clear and understandable, and while he was singing “I’m sorry that they didn’t tell you about the world” I kept on looking around to see if anybody else was experiencing the same intensity as I was, knowing the songs of the album so well.
One of the set highlights was next with the Alice in Wonderland inspired ‘Streets Fell into My Window’, followed by ‘Dead Children’. At this point Trash took the time to address the crowd and dedicate his love to Edinburgh with its old windy cobblestone streets, and he softly started singing the opening lines to the Tears for Fears cover ‘Mad World’ that the audience knew very well (hopefully not because of the various television talent show versions), and they started singing along impressively. This also resulted in the loudest applause for The Red Paintings of their set, which was ended with a great version of the album title track ‘The Revolution Is Never Coming’.
Unfortunately this show was “only” 40 minutes long and The Red Paintings didn’t play some of the songs I was really looking forward to, such as ‘The Fall Of Rome’ and ‘Hong Kong’. But what they demonstrated at this gig is that they are able to translate the complex songs of the album into the live setting very well, and it only makes me look forward a lot to their headline gig coming up in Edinburgh in February.
I was fortunate enough to have a long and interesting chat with Trash after the gig and it was great to hear him passionately talk about his band, music and tour experience. If you get a chance to see The Red Paintings you absolutely should not think twice about it as it’s an unforgettable experience.
I ended this night watching the kids go absolutely crazy on the electropunk beats Mindless Self Indulgence were throwing at them, but I realised it wasn’t for me. I came out to see The Red Paintings and I got what I wanted. But now I want more!