All words: Alyssa Moody
All photos: Stephanie Breijo
“I’m an emerging British artist and I definitely like it nice and slow.”
The lovable, technicolor dream of eccentricity otherwise known as BOY GEORGE made everyone’s evening pretty magical when he and his 6-person band emerged on stage at 9:30 Club on Monday night. Kicking off his set with “King of Everything,” (off his 2013 LP, “This is What I Do,”) the new wave superstar’s rhinestone-embellished eye makeup sparkled as he strutted around the stage with an air of confidence and charisma so palpable it reminded everyone in the audience that he’s still one of the all-time coolest cats to prowl a stage.
Not even 15 minutes into the set, however, Boy managed to check off an item on my bucket list when he proclaimed, “I want to hear you sing, Detroit!” Fortunately for Boy, the audience – comprised primarily of visibly infatuated 40-50 year old men – didn’t seem to notice or care, and the remainder of the set went off without a hitch.
The Culture Club vet didn’t shy away from playing the hits that made he and his bowler hat so iconic, including the sway/tear inducing, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and, of course, “Karma Chameleon,” which subsequently turned the entire crowd into Leonardo DiCaprio at Coachella.
Ever the master of covers, a hush came over the otherwise extremely vocal crowd when Boy launched into an a melodically flawless, a cappella cover of Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” The cover highlight of the evening, however, was indisputably T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong,” (which he strangely/AWESOMELY collaborated on with The Black Lips earlier this month).
With each song, Boy and his sassy brass band proved they’re at the top of their musicality game — but the art of mastering encore song selection could still use some improvement. He wrapped up his raucous set with two ballads – one of which was a Yoko Ono cover (“Death of Samantha”) which I feel like defies some sort of universal mandate prohibiting the use of a Yoko Ono song in any encore performance ever. The final song of the evening was also the last song played at 90% of high school proms in 1987, “To Be Reborn.” While his vocals were absolutely flawless, it seemed like an out-of-place, overly melancholy way to end a show that otherwise made the audience feel like they were wearing primary colors while dancing on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. Where’s “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” when you need it?
Regardless, Boy’s voice sounds as good, if not better than it did in 1982 — and, more importantly, he seems to be having just as much fun.