This sounds like the Cover Girls got into a cab with Kraftwerk, only to find that Giorgio Moroder was driving. Love this song and video (after the jump), and the good news is their full album Double Life is available for pre-order ...
39 posts categorized "MUSIC REVIEW"
I'm not a major Barbra Streisand fan, but when I saw her do a six-song set—with a cold—at the opening of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, I vowed to see a full live show someday. There was definitely a little magic in that moment, but there was much, much more than just a little last night at Barclays in Brooklyn.
In spite of the hag behind me who felt the need to loudly sing along the entire first act when she wasn't loudly talking (and heckling the pro-Hillary Clinton asides: “Benghazi.”), the show was a marvel.
Streisand was political, but not relentlessly so. She did talk about about President Clinton's (the first one) speech regarding how all human beings are 99.9% genetically the same, “Except for Trump. He's ... different.” She included projected images of police shootings and even 9/11 during a stirring performance of Carole King's “Being at War with Each Other,” and also included appeals for attention to climate change and women's heart problems.
But the banter was largely humorous and relaxed. She joked effortlessly with the crowd and seemed to feed off the delight in the room any time she tackled a monumental Broadway number, or, even more so, indulged us with a more commercial smash like “Evergreen.”
She definitely gave the crowd what we came for, and was in excellent, spine-tinglingly on-point voice, so my complaints are few: I would've liked full versions of the hits she confined to a medley, I felt her “I Didn't Know What Time It Was” made for a meh encore and she's dead to me for skipping “Prisoner.” Okay, that last one I never dreamed would happen.
She more than made up for small shortcomings by bringing out Jamie Foxx and Patrick Wilson for powerful duets. Actually, she received a standing O after every song she sang:
Highlights for me—these were the A-plusses in a field of straight As—were “Being Alive,” “Papa, Can You Hear Me?,” “Pure Imagination,” “Children Will Listen” and “Don't Rain on My Parade.” It was also a hoot hearing how Arthur Laurents never forgave her for improving on his vision of her “Miss Marmelstein” number in I Can Get It for You Wholesale.
It was a performance for the ages. At 74, she looks lovely, sings beautifully, is curating her catalogue pretty well and still knows how to make the people laugh, as when she asked if we knew what it was really like to be famous and have an amazing career, answering her own question with, “It's fan-fucking-tastic!”
...which would've made for a good, one-word review of her show.
Full set list (the only difference on Saturday night was she dropped “Everything Must Change” and did “Children Will Listen”):
My friend Harry invited me to take his friend's place and join him in seeing Sheena Easton perform at B.B. King's, and we wound up having a great, if not totally heck-a-slammin' time.
We had front-section, central VIP seating, so missed nothing of the 90-minute gig, which was generously sprinkled hits (“I embrace my nostalgia!” she exclaimed early on), some of which a casual fan might have forgottne all about. Any student of Sheena Easton 101 knew to expect “9 to 5 (Morning Train)” from 1980, which got the evening's biggest reaction in spite of its near novelty-hit sound, and her smash Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only” from 1981, but I can't have been the only person surprised she is still doing gems like “Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)” (1983).
Easton—looking very much like a red-headed Kylie Minogue, is still ravishing at 57, so much so that her surprisingly relentless self-deprecation about her age and her lack of hits since the '90s felt a bit like posting a fantastic selfie with the caption, “I look awful, right?” The true answer is she looks great and sounds great (aside from a tendency to over-emote) and has an engaging stand-up comedy banter between songs that made her perhaps a bit too accessible—one fan couldn't resist shouting suggestions to her after every song, eventually earning her ire. Sit down and shut up.
But back to the set list, which along with the previously named hits and some '60s and '70s pop covers (and one Christian song—she connected with Catholicism after four divorces), included the singles “When He Shines (1981), “I Wouldn't Beg for Water (1982), “We've Got Tonight (1983), “Almost Over You (1983), “Strut (1984), “The Lover in Me (1988). Most excitingly, with the help of a talented male duet partner, Easton offered a dynamic melding of “Sugar Walls” (1984)/“U Got the Look” (1987) as a tribute to her ex, Prince.
Joking that she was thinking of hanging up her Spanx and discontinuing the performance of such sexed-up numbers, she revealed she had to do them as an excuse to air the work of the Purple One.
Okay, like, I got invited to this super exclusive new Off-Broadway show called Katdashians: Break the Musical, and it was seriously the funniest thing everrr or, like, at least, it was a funny thing, you know? Bible.
Katdashians: Break the Musical is the very funny creation of Bob and Tobly McSmith, the warped minds behind past romps like Bayside! The Musical!, Full House: The Musical! and Showgirls!: The Musical. With the McSmiths' perverse combo of legitimately complex songs and gross-out humor, tight direction by tight John Duff (who we would all like to see attempt to break the Internet with his own fame-ready caboose), and Broadway-level choreography by Viva Soudan, the show has more to offer than just cheap laughs at the world's most famous Armenian-Americans.
Though there are plenty of cheap laughs, too.
The show follows—wallows in?—the regrettable ascension of the Kardashians, ending somewhere just beyond Caitlyn Jenner's transition. The songs are, as the title suggests, frequently parodies of famous numbers from Cats (which is returning to Broadway in the near future—that legendary musical is as bad as Keeping Up with the Kardashians and apparently just as hard to euthanize permanently), but there are also clever re-workings of tunes by Beyoncé, Madonna and other suitably fabulous fame whores.
And yes, it was “better than Cats.”
Speaking of which, if there is anything limiting about doing a parody of the most famous, most polarizing people alive, it may be that the show works best if you know everything about the Kardashians and also have the Cats original cast recording memorized. Thing is, very few people probably check both boxes. Luckily, the show does work if you're only into one or the other, and even seems to work if you're a novice regarding both. I surveyed some patrons and was surprised how few were well-versed in Kardashian lore, though a girl behind me who claimed she knew nothing knew all the terms in the “How to Speak Kardashian” insert from our program. The guy next to me, who knew zero about the Kardashians, laughed loudly throughout. I mean, jokes about pubic hair and anal sex are pretty universal.
The cast/cats are purrfect, led by Carmen Mendoza as busty, bratty, dusky-Baby Doll Kim Kat. She has her look down pat and has the star quality necessary to function as the epicenter of an attention-logged sect.
Bridget Kennedy as Kourtney Kat is a riot, offering a deadpan, personality-free take that reminded me of the fun femme performances in the late, great American Psycho. She channels a Selma Blair monotone and has the requisite bombshell looks, the exact recipe for Kourtney.
Standing out from an already stellar group is Elliott Brooks as Khloé Kat, whose character gets the Cher-in-Moonstruck treatment as we follow her from Khloé's birth status as a softer, potty-on-me-mouthed version of The Thing to the voluptuous blonde work-out fanatic that she is today. With manic, verbal-diarrhetic glee, she spits out shocking one-liners about anal sex, anal beds, “Shit on a dick!” and projectile vaginal discharge—singing hysterically at one point about the seemingly drug-resistant strain of pubic hair she hosts—and yet still makes the audience root for her. Definitely pick of the litter.
Bailey Nolan is Kris Kat/Kris Jenner's doppelgänger thanks to the perfect wig and a great vocal imitation; it felt like Kris was appearing in the show herself, which is not something I would put past her. Her counterpart, Peter Smith as Bruce/Catlyn/Caitlyn, nailed the transgender trailblazer's guyish speech and was able to make us cheer for her transition all over again, even though in real life, Caitlyn turned out to be kind of a dud in the inspiration arena. Smith's take on a parody of “Memory” was a show-stopper.
Knee-slapping, mutinous scenes featuring choreographer Soudan as Kylie Kat and Ariel Ash as Kendall Kat (in a mask and peek-a-boo unitard, she was the spitting image) had some audience members howling. Alexis Kelley and Jenyvette Vega serve as ass-tastic Dash Dolls.
Best thing about the show, though, might be the innovation of encouraging (non-flash) photography, and especially selfie-taking, throughout. So if your mind wanders, take a great selfie and let your followers on social media know that you're doing looking good.
In the end, this sometimes almost admiring, more often catty, hoot has its claws out mostly for you, the audience that pretends to revile a family famous only for being famous ... all the while watching their every move like a cat watches a bowl-bound goldfish.
Katdashians: Break the Musical is at the Elektra Theatre at 300 W. 43rd St., NYC, through July 16. Tickets are $25-$45. Visit the site here.
Keep reading for video and pictures from the opening-night champagne toast ...
(10 images in above gallery by Matthew Rettenmund)
I've seen Cyndi Lauper perform live probably a dozen (?) times, going back to her True Colors World Tour in (December 14, 1986) and including the Twelve Deadly Cyns World Tour (in NYC sometime in 1994-1995), She's So Unusual: 30th Anniversary Tour (October 20, 2013), her opening slot for Cher (May 9, 2014) and quite a few of her holiday and fundraising gigs (like this one). She's great, but I wondered if I really needed to see her yet again, as I did at the Beacon Theatre here in NYC on Thursday night.
My room, 1987. (L) Full Madonna-cover mags in bags on the wall, plus Eurythmics, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Cyndi Lauper. (R) View of my ceiling, with Madonna, Molly Ringwald, Marilyn, Cyndi, Ally Sheedy, Debbie Harry, Sade and ... Boy George! (Images by Matthew Rettenmund)
The real draw for me was Boy George. I absolutely loved Culture Club as a teen; I vividly recall the day I bought Colour by Numbers at a record store in Flint in the '80s. I even had a promo poster for one of the group's video collections on my ceiling, with a huge image of George in full makeup. I also remember the very first time my pals Mike Ashton (at his house) and Eric Olson watched the video for “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” (1982) on MTV and openly discussed the novelty of the dude who totally looked like a girl. Liking George was somewhat of a political statement in a small town—in any town, really.
But even without the tantalizing gayness, I thought Culture Club created two amazing albums (and the other not-half-bad ones), records I listened to and memorized. I was a pretty fair voice mimic for George, too.
Back in the day, Culture Club had a bad reputation as a live act, and I didn't summon the guts to attend any pop tour until Eurythmics' Revenge Tour on August 21, 1986, by which time Culture Club was kaput. Also, I'd heard more recently that George didn't sound so hot on a reunion jaunt, but I believe that was due to vocal issues.
So when I failed to get tickets and the joint gig between Cyndi and George (with Rosie O'Donnell as a special guest) neared, I reached out to a friend with a connection and, after his previous invitees fell through, I found myself seated in the fourth row for what turned out to be a thoroughly satisfying show.
Cyndi came out first, weirdly; I'd expected George would open for her, considering her relative success and being 3/4 of the way to being an EGOT. She looked great in her pink hair and punky leather get-up, and thanked us all for being there while also ensuring she educated the young'uns about the days when R&B and country were quite close in form. This was relevant because she's recently released a C&W album, Detour. Her roots with Blue Angel make this a good idea:
As reluctant as I was to see her again (at some point, seeing an artist over and over can almost dull my enthusiasm), and as little interest as I had in hearing her do country stuff, her set wound up being phenomenal. She had us on our feet the whole time and was in superb voice.
Cyndi gave us four hits and four C&W covers from her new record:
(1) “Funnel of Love” (originally by Wanda Jackson)
(2) “She Bop”
(3) “I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart” (originally by Patsy Montana)
(4) “Walking After Midnight” (originally by Patsy Cline)
(5) “The End of the World” (originally by Skeeter Davis)
(6) “I Drove All Night”
(7) “When You Were Mine” (originally by Prince, covered by Cyndi on her first album)
(8) “Money Changes Everything” (originally by the Brains, covered by Cyndi on her first album)
For her encore, she treated us to one more cover and two of her biggest hits:
(9) “Misty Blue” (originally by Eddy Arnold)
(10) “Time After Time”
(11) “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (with Rosie O'Donnell on the drums)
Just a fantastic performance from her, and I couldn't believe I'd been unenthused going in. She also said something that relates to my false fatigue while she was honoring Prince. She said:
I hope you appreciate all the artists while you have 'em.
Her other remarks about Prince were respectful without attempting to make it seem she was a major part of his story (she sang his “When You Were Mine” on She's So Unusual, an excellent cover that she performed live at the show perfectly):
I did one of his songs on my first record, and when he passed I couldn't believe it and it broke my heart—a bright light went out ... Life is short. But he was funny, and he was smart as a whip ... he was quirky—but I loved him.
Cyndi joked about Madonna's English accent but quickly said she loved her, and also gushed about being on Sire Records now, a label she had always considered to be so creative, the home of so many punk acts and also Madonna.
Cyndi loves Madonna and Sire, but there was no love lost on Donald Trump when Rosie O'Donnell took the stage for what amounted to a quickie cover while Boy George and his band prepped behind the curtain. Awkwardly, George's voice and other distracting noises were coming through on the monitors, so Rosie kept getting interrupted and eventually just had to shout over it all—glad it was her and not, say, Mindy Kaling.
Rosie used her brief time onstage to lambaste Donald Trump. Though she declared the Beacon a Trump-free zone, that wasn't quite true—it was more like an anti-Trump zone, and rightfully so:
First-hand account of Tears of a Clown from a longtime fan who was there.
It's gratifying to read a former Madonna critic—who had previously snarked about Madonna's relevance, talent, motivation—take in a Rebel Heart Tour show and ... take it all back!
Miley's SNL monologue was a song—a hilarious song.
Madonna's Atlantic City Rebel Heart Tour stop was all wet.
Grace Jones's book party left guests Jonesing for Grace.
Another gay bashing in NYC.
Joe Biden gets rock-star welcome at HRC.
Bernie Sanders gets rock-star welcome in Boston.
Kochs might now think Fiorina is dumb enough to pull it off after all.
Dan Osborne's most bulge-tastic shots!
Handsome Matt Morrison jettisons his beard.
Lady Gaga wants your love, she wants — your love.
HOT tennis daddy.
David McIntosh's KILLER ass. (Work Unfriendly)
Hey, there, Handsome! I do anal!
Who would report his work of art? (The book's nice, too.)