Extreme and Living Colour brought their Thicker Than Blood tour to Austin's Moody Theater on Monday, thrilling the audience with a combination of mega-hits, fan favorites, choice covers and staggering technical virtuosity.

You can see UCR's exclusive photos from the show below.

Living Colour came out swinging with an eight-song set that was equal parts aggressive and uplifting (albeit slightly shorter than their regular set on this tour, as drummer James "Biscuit" Rouse filled in for Will Calhoun). The quartet set the audience ablaze with Vivid rocker "Middle Man" and the Stain one-two punch of "Leave It Alone" and "Ignorance Is Bliss" before paying homage to late MC5 architect Wayne Kramer with a funked-up rendition of "Kick Out the Jams." Bassist Doug Wimbish also got to flex his association with pioneering hip-hop label Sugar Hill Records by taking the lead on a medley of "White Lines (Don't Do It)," "Apache" and "The Message."

Singer Corey Glover sounded a fraction of his 59 years as he alternated between a searing howl and a soulful falsetto croon. The band hit a midset climax during "Open Letter (To a Landlord)" with Glover exhorting the crowd to "fight for your neighborhood." (The song's evergreen message had an extra bite as the Moody Theater is nestled in a part of downtown Austin where one-bedroom apartments can exceed $5,000 a month.) Guitarist Vernon Reid was as fleet-fingered as ever, tossing off whammy-bar dive-bombs and diabolical tapped runs. It culminated in the obligatory set-closer "Cult of Personality," which brought the audience to a fever pitch and set the stage for the headliners.

READ MORE: Living Colour Albums Ranked Worst to Best

Extreme seized upon the momentum by opening their two-hour set with back-to-back Extreme II: Pornograffitti cuts "It ('s a Monster)" and "Decadence Dance." Gary Cherone bounded across the stage like a live wire, contorting his body every which way and beckoning the audience to raise their voices with him. The frontman rasped his way through some of the band's earlier and more demanding material, but guitarist Nuno Bettencourt and bassist Pat Badger's expert backing vocals helped smooth over the rougher edges.

Bettencourt was the indisputable star of the show, charming the audience with his four-letter-word-heavy banter and six-string wizardry. The guitarist seemed to exert more effort flipping his hair out of his face than he did blazing through jaw-dropping solos to "Play With Me," "Get the Funk Out" and the set-closing Six single "Rise," which took the guitar community by storm and has become a genuine modern-rock sensation. Bettencourt even paid tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen with a snippet of "Eruption" — a move that could have easily crashed and burned in the hands of a lesser player, but instead affirmed his status as one of the few guitarists fit to carry the torch in Van Halen's absence. (One thing is for certain: Joe Satriani better bring his A-game when he embarks on a Van Halen-centric tour with Sammy Hagar this summer.)

Bettencourt basked in the adoration of the crowd — who wouldn't? — but he sounded sincere when he saluted his fellow guitarists in the audience and claimed that above all, the love of his instrument made his job worthwhile. "When you put this shit on, this is a fucking superpower. Don't let anybody tell you otherwise," he said. The crowd roared, grateful to have a hero to call their own.

Extreme and Living Colour Live in Austin, Feb. 19, 2024

Veteran rockers brought the Thicker Than Blood tour to the Moody Theater.

Gallery Credit: Bryan Rolli

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