the night 3 colors opened for double trouble and bow wow wow

As an ambitious twenty one year old kid I was in a band called 3 Colors. We had recently adopted Boston as our home. I was working at a place called Slide Graphics a few days a week while attending Mass. College of Art by day and gigging by night. The year was 1982-83. The band lived together in a house on Oak Square Avenue in Brighton. Slide Graphics was located down the street from the Channel, a legendary club we were determined to play. I ingratiated myself with the club’s booking agent because he learned I could make the mock ups for the venue’s ads at work and have them delivered in a timely fashion in return for some opening slots. One of our first gigs was opening for the English Beat. The Clash showed up that night after their gig but that’s another story.
This is the story of the night we opened for Double Trouble and Bow Wow Wow. I’m want to get this story down in writing because my daughter is now 21 and she’s taking a DJ class in college and Rob Swift is her teacher. I want her to ask him about Double Trouble.
Bow Wow Wow had a hit with their cover of “I Want Candy” and had rolled in on a new shiny tour bus. We had never seen a band with a tour bus before. They were from the UK and dressed like it.

We had heard the backing band was most of the band from Adam and the Ants and the lead singer was 16. We thought it was pretty cool.
We had never heard of Double Trouble before, but learned they were on tour with Bow Wow Wow. They traveled by train and bus, there were three of them, and at sound check I watched as they set up turn tables. This was also new to us. How does this work? We were curious and intrigued. Two of the on the mic and one behind the turntable. What strange new sound was this? What IS this?

We rushed through our sound check, being the last group to do so and prepared for our set. The show was sold out. We were an energetic, bouncy young band of Caucasian young men (boys really) who hadn’t figured out it’s sound, eager to seep like a sponge all the influence our adopted city’s music scene could soak us in. We played our half hour set, it was intense energy in the room, mostly Caucasian young men in backwards baseball caps and tattoos, there to see, no doubt, the hot sixteen year old sing I Want Candy. They didn’t seem to love nor hate us, kind of cheered us on, they were eager to get on with the show. Double Trouble took the stage. Three African American young men, two of them leaping to and fro on the stage, in track suits, doing what seemed like speaking or yelling into the mics.
The was new music to be certain, at least to us, in Boston in 1982. What happened next shocked me to the core. The crowd erupted in what appeared to be straight up anger. They booed Double Trouble, and began throwing things at them…it was appalling. This was a crash course in how racist a town Boston could be, something I was to learn the hard way in the coming months and years living there.
I was so mortified at the crowds behavior, hearing them yell the N word and throwing…is that candy at them?… that I leaped onto the stage myself (somehow insanely thinking since I had just been on the stage that I could have some sway over the crowd, grabbed a mic and told the crowd to shut the fuck up and witnessed many of them giving me the finger, spitting and throwing…is that candy at me too!?!
Double Trouble didn’t seem phased in the slightest, simply carried on with their set, did their thing and promptly got off the stage. The show went on. Bow Wow Wow came on, did their hit and the during it the crowd rained candy down upon the poor lead singer. She left the stage crying, having been pelted harshly by all kinds of candy, m&m’s, milk duds, candy canes, you name it.
Needless to say the tour bus pulled out of there promptly leaving Double Trouble to check the train schedule. There wasn’t a train until the next morning heading towards their next gig with Bow Wow Wow. I asked them where they were staying and they looked at each other replying most likely they’d sleep in the train station. Now, if anyone of you are familiar with Boston winter’s you know how severe they can be, and this happened to be one of the coldest night’s yet. We promptly invited them back to our house in Brighton. By the time we got back to our house it was well past 2am. And damn, we hadn’t paid the oil heating bill. You could see frost on the inside of our windows, the toilet bowls were beginning to freeze and you could see your breathe in the kitchen. The fish in the tank were now floating upside down. It was rough and more then a tad humiliating and humbling. The lads in Double Trouble couldn’t have been more gracious. I can’t recall their names now, somewhere I have a piece of paper where they wrote their names and addresses. South Bronx, NY. We shared our weed and they were grateful despite having to keep their winter coats and hats on inside. We hung out until sunrise and then drove them to the train station after breakfast. I didn’t hear about them again until the movie Wild Style came out.