In one of those New York moments, I found myself in a back lot in Little Italy on Sunday night, watching Corey Glover, lead singer for funk-metal pioneers Living Colour, drop his mic – and actual mic stand – to the ground, after he’d delivered a Sunday sermon that seemed to shake the very walls around us. Walls that had fresh paint on them as part of the L.I.S.A Project’s Loman Arts Festival. Walls, Glover encouraged us to look at instead of at him, but the way he was quivering and moving with the spirit of the songs he was singing, that was very hard to do.
I had hoped he would do Cult of Personality, Living Colour’s Grammy-winning, signature track. A track I was introduced to back in Cape Town by a musician friend some 10 years after it was released. Hey, better late than never, right? The songs Glover did perform were solid enough to make me think about how much I’ve missed hearing good ol’ fashioned rock music, complete with soul-digging singing and rough guitars.
Glover, fresh off supporting Aerosmith, was singing Last Temptation, acapella, when his voice quivered with the spirit within the song. He paused to take a moment and talk about the trouble with New York, his place of birth, at the moment, and the special kind of “love, beauty and art” it takes to live here in the Big Apple. Coincidentally, it riffed off the conversation a Parisian friend and I had on the ride over about him wanting to move here and the boxes he needs to tick before he can.
I didn’t know Glover’s nickname is Reverend Daddy Love. I now know why. The lyrics he sang about, and the verve with which he sang them, swirled around in my mind as I took in the art pieces that had been painted for the fest – all in the name of beautifying the lower parts of Manhattan, and keeping things culturally alive. If you find yourself in Little Italy and the LES, keep an eye out for the new works. They may not leave you as invigorated as seeing Glover perform live – that has to be seen to truly be experienced – but they will make you feel like the soul of a city that’s constantly changing is never truly lost.
Oh, and Glover’s other band Galactic plays Brooklyn Bowl August 14th.