Culture Club: A Review.
Concert by Culture Club in the Live Lounge of BBC Radio 2.
I came across Culture Club in concert at the BBC Radio 2 Live Lounge by mistake. I didn't set out to intentionally watch the band in concert but having found them I continued viewing their performance. The band have certainly aged Boy George, Roy Hay and Mikey Craig are a bit more grey and craggy nevertheless the less you can tell it's them. For some reason drummer, Jon Moss was not present but the three recognisable members of Culture Club were there and I suppose that's all that matters.
Roy Hay (guitars/keys), Mikey Craig (bass) and the Boy himself (vocals) were backed by a tight unit of musicians and backing singers. The set they played was funky, jazzy, soulful with a sprinkling of rock here and there.
Culture Club has a new album out hence their concert on Radio 2, Georges appearance on the 'Jonathon Ross Show' and their upcoming UK tour. The album entitled 'Life' is their first release for 20 years or so I am told.
The tour features other 80's icons like Belinda Carlisle and Tom Bailey from The Thompson Twins. The band played old favourites like 'Karma Chameleon', 'Church Of The Poison Mind', 'Miss You Blind' and other 80's classics. They also played songs from their new album which seems to be an eclectic mix of music styles.
When Culture Club emerged in 1982 with their popular number one song "Do You Really Want To Hurt me" the audience reaction to frontman George was, to say the least confused. One Australian newspaper at the time screamed the headlines "What Is It"? as no one could work out quite what George was! Was he a boy or a girl but George turned out to be a cross dressing man or a 'gender bender' as the press liked to call him.
The band went on to have more hits through out the 80's and worldwide success. The name Culture Club came from the four members ethnic backgrounds. For example, George O'Dowd (to give him his proper name) was of Irish descent, Roy Hay was of English Anglo-Saxon descent, Mikey Craig Jamaican and Jon Moss Jewish.
The band were forever in the press especially George who pushed the envelope on what was considered a man as far as he could push it. One of Georges favourite statements from the 80's is "I would rather have a cup of tea than sex".
The era in which Culture Club emerged was on the tail of the 'New Romantic' movement. Where men found inspiration from the 'Glam Rock' era of the 70's and the 18th/19th Century. Where men wore makeup, frilly shirts and period clothing.
Culture Club in the late 80's broke up with band members (as with a lot of bands fallling out) saying they had grown apart. All four members went off to do their own separate thing musically and some had wives and kids to bring up.
Of course, frontman George was never out of the headlines for one reason or another. George faced prison on a few occasions and had to do community service in New York for allegedly imprisoning someone in his house. George also had a drug problem which could have killed him had it not been for his brother coming on television and speaking out. George had a few solo hits and employed his time becoming a well-respected DJ in clubs.
Over the years Culture Club have reformed and performed but the same spectre of not getting on continued to haunt the band. George would throw hissy fits leaving Roy, Mikey and Jon wondering what the hell was going on?
On 'The Jonathon Ross Show' George said the band were trying to get on better but still didn't really understand each other.
With the release of the new album 'Life' and the upcoming UK tour, Culture Club is a band that has been to hell and back and survived. Like U2, Duran Duran, Iron Maiden, Depeche Mode and others Culture Club have survived the 80's whether as solo artists or coming back together occasionally to become Culture Club. Of course, the above-mentioned bands are not the only ones to survive the decade they became famous in and carry on. The Rolling Stones though a 60's band carried on after the decade of so-called peace and love was over and are still around today though looking a bit more decrepit these days.
I can never say in the 80's I ever bought anything by Culture Club, however, I liked some of their songs and realised they were good musicians. The question is as for any band how long can the foursome continue to be Culture Club? Well if they take a leaf out of the Stones book as long as they want to and are able.
A New Romantic.
New Romantic Movement.
The New Romantic movement began in the early 1980's part of the nightclub scene in London and Birmingham. In particular the 'Blitz' club in London and 'The Rum Runner' in Birmingham.
Many regarded this movement as a reaction to the austerity of Punk and the do it yourself attitude of the Punk movement. New Romantic fashion looked back to the 'Glam Rock' era of the 70's with musicians like David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Roxy Music being prime influencers. Also, many New Romantics dressed in period clothing from previous centuries long gone.
The press at the time called this movement the 'New Dandies', 'Romantic Rebels' and 'Blitz Kids' before settling on the term of 'New Romantic'. Duran Duran, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, A Flock of Seagulls, Talk Talk, Depeche Mode, Adam and the Ants and Japan along with others were all regarded as part of this movement.
However, at the end of 1981, the New Romantic scene largely disappeared. The bands that came up through that era moved on to other styles of fashion of music. As with any bands that come up through a movement and have success some fell by the wayside while others continue to this day.
The New Romantic style was revived in the 90's for a while but it was short lived. As a fashion, the movement remains one of the most eccentric, eclectic and interesting youth movements of the 20th century.