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Guilty Pleasure of the Week: Music, art and human canvases

The Red Paintings
String player performing with The Red Paintings (Photo credit: mystikeel)

Music and art have always been combined, and most people do it right. (read: local Beats and Brushes event hosted by RiPs Entertainment.) Psychedelic performance art rockers The Red Paintings do it with a flair that will keep your ears peeled and your eyes glued to the stage. Trust me when I say, you have never seen or heard anything like this.

That’s why our Guilty Pleasure of the Week segment is coming back with a bang in the form of this Australian, genre-bending, orchestral rock group. Fascination pretty much surrounds this music project, from the moment you listen to the music, to the story behind how lead singer and musical mastermind Trash McSweeney began his musical journey. One near-fatal seizure and many inspiring moments later, and The Red Paintings was born.

Gimmicky bands are sometimes a hit or a miss, but with this group the gimmick is simply artful, colorful, mesmerizing and sometimes downright acid-trip inducing entertainment. Woven around all of that creativity is a voice that isn’t quite perfect but manages to fit into the theme of the music completely. Add in the sweet yet ominous sounds of string instruments, which are usually included in their live ensemble as well, and The Red Paintings succeed in creating its own little Tim Burton-esque world.

The performance is theatrical, and sometimes over-obsessed with Alice in Wonderland, but the music is more than just a soundtrack to a play. McSweeney croons one moment and sears through his lyrics the next, as the dynamics of each song rise and fall like a tumultuous ocean. Still, beautiful pseudo-ballads such as “We Belong in the Sea” are just as alluring and can stand alone without the stage antics.

In essence, the entire package of The Red Paintings is perfect, complete with a big red bow on top.

This is the kind of music experience that is extremely fun to watch live, especially since the group adds in a real-time art collaboration featuring local artists at each of their tour destinations, and even occasionally including human canvasses.

Alright, now are you convinced? If you are, head over to the Griffin on Valentine’s Day (February 14th, in case you forgot), for The Red Paintings, Stone Horse, The Falling Doves and others.

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