The first time I saw The Red Paintings, they opened for Birthday Massacre and New Years Day. I was there for Birthday Massacre but the focus should have been on TRP. They blew my mind from the first song. My friends and I even bought the album the same night and left halfway through the headliner’s set, bickering about TRP and their bizarre sound. On a side note, this is more of an ‘experience’ review than an album review. Everything about that show was unforgettable.
Let me address their stage show first. These tree-like figures immediately start swimming through a confused audience and there’s a mostly naked figure on stage wearing what looks like a paper mache alien mask. The lighting is creepy and the band is dressed like they’re from another dimension. About two songs in, I’m already in love. Lead fellow, Trash McSweeney as he’s known online, is chattering with the audience and generally creating a good vibe. The songs are great, there’s a fantastic violinist, and at one point, Trash gets almost every audience member squatting on the floor Brighton Music Hall for story-time. Remember those tree people? They’re painting human canvases and regular canvases and floating about on stage.
The Red Paintings created an incredible environment, all the while seeming very grateful for the chance to play their music. I’ve rarely walked away from a show in more awe of an opener than a headline, but props to TRP.
But I also want to address The Revolution is Never Coming, their first full-length album. It appears to include a few tracks from previously released EPs, but their new material centers around vague motifs of aliens and the unknown. “Vampires are Chasing Me” fades out of a symphony and into probably their most popular track, “Wasps.” An aged audio recording of possible alien sightings open the song and Trash assures you that no one is here to collect your daughter. (Another exciting tidbit: They recently released a music video for “Wasps.”) In the stomach of the album, it starts to feel a little repetitive in terms of sound and overall mood. But I think it leads up to their closing track titled “The Revolution is Never Coming.” It’s the third longest track on the album and feels like two songs in one. It’s silly, pumped with energy, but makes you think.
I want you to focus on their stage presence however. There’s so much more detail to their musical work, and more to come, but I believe their stage show really sets them apart. Be sure to check out their newly published gallery of all stage paintings from their tour.