98 posts categorized "MUSIC REVIEW"
Went to see Billy Idol's Kings & Queens of the Underground Tour. We came up with seven or eight of his songs off the tops of our heads, so that was enough to spend a few hours after from my feverish Encyclopedia Madonnica: 20th Anniversary Edition writing (free ticket).
He looks pretty okay for 59 and, surprisingly, still runs around shirtless. He's the definition of a nostalgia act, really embracing all the aspects of Billy Idoldom that his fans crave (the hits, the snarl, the rock bad-assery). I was bored by the very old, pre-pop material and cringed through “Mony, Mony” (always hated that one), and his “Dancing With Myself” was consistently off-key, but there were highlights and it was pretty fun. No “Catch My Fall” and no “Hot in the City” (gasp!), but I think just about everything else you would want.
Don't get me started on the crowd. Tall couple in front of me joined at the hip = wall, plus the chick was a fist-pumper. Lots of drunken hedge-fund flunkies grinding on younger women. I said don't get me started.
Still, it was an amusing night out. I had just written about that odd pic of Billy, Sam Kinison, Madonna and David Bowie that's floating around the Internet.
No idea what was happening when his eyes crossed, but check out the 13 shots for some less unflattering ones!
After the jump, a snippet of Billy Idol Billy Idoling around...
Promo images courtesy of JD Urban, live images by Matthew Rettenmund for BoyCulture.com
BOY CULTURE REVIEW: ***1/2 out of ****
I still wasn't being allowed to see R-rated movies in 1984 when Prince's Purple Rain came out, making him seem like Jehovah's gift to the multiplex, and I was probably a bit protective of my diva Madonna due to Prince's chart-busting achievements with its legendary soundtrack. But as an American Top 40 freak, I was acutely aware of the many hits the record launched...it was like Minneapolis spooged all over Billboard.
Flash forward 30 (!) years, and I'm seated in 42West (514 West 42 St., NYC), watching Dearly Beloved, an anniversary tribute to the album (and the film), directed by Jacob Langfelder and starring Robin de Jesús (as Prince—I don't honor the whole Artist Formerly Known As thing) and Lena Hall (as Apollonia), and with featured performances by E. Clayton Cornelius, Kiyan Taghaboni and Ariel Bellvalaire.
The show was a straight-up revue, but certainly wasn't karaoke. De Jesús suggested Prince without copying him exactly, sounding perfectly confident in every number, with the possible exception of “When Doves Cry”, with its odd, nasal vocal, which proved a little too offbeat for him to nail.
Hall, looking the opposite of her male Hedwig and the Angry Inch character in her bustier and Katy Perry via Bettie Page glamour makeup, soared in her numbers, making even the delightfully sugary “Sex Shooter” sound like a whole different animal coming from such powerful pipes.
The audience was mesmerized by the whole thing, especially de Jesús's libidinous writhing—it will be hard to see him in his In the Heights mold after witnessing this transformation.
The show felt like a try-out for a more elaborate, sung-through musical based on the already very musical movie; if that's the case, I think everyone involved proved it's an idea worth exploring.
After the jump, check out the original “Sex Shooter”...
Molly Ringwald takes on Madonna's “Sooner or Later”.
A buncha hot Thom Evans pictures, sans shirt.
Gay marriage coming to more states minute by minute!
Painful irony of Stephen Collins on Jessica Biel's “child porn” mag cover.
Finding out your dad is a child molester.
PARIS STILL BURNING: Vogueing doc hits Toronto.
More Magic Mike XXL goodness from GA.
Cute British reality star finally admits he's gay.
BOY CULTURE REVIEW: **** out of ****
Tonight, I was privileged enough to be invited to attend a one-night-only oratorio (or, as last-minute guest Whoopi Goldberg called it, “oratio”) I Am Harvey Milk, with words and music by Andrew Lippa and starring Lippa as Milk, Noah Marlowe as Young Milk and angel-voiced Kristin Chenoweth as a soprano muse who stands in for several different women in Milk's life.
They were accompanied by the Joel Fram-conducted Orchestra of St. Luke's and The All-Star Broadway Men's Chorus.
Following Goldberg's intro (she referred to us as “family”...) and a more impassioned intro by Milk protégé Cleve Jones, the 60-minute presentation was thoroughly impressive, especially considering how well-mined the subject matter is. It was especially exciting to see and hear on the day the Supreme Court declined to review some lower court decisions, bringing marriage equality to five states immediately and another six in the long run, but this piece would be exciting to see and hear any day or night of the week, at any point in history.
The reason I Am Harvey Milk has a timelessness is that it's about the overall struggle for equality and fairness, even as it uses Milk's personal political odyssey to get at that larger theme.
I was lulled to light sleep at times by the beauty and sonic purity, but there were plenty of attention-getting highlights, most notably the jumpin' “Enough Is Enough”-inspired “Friday Night in the Castro” (complete with clapping hands and gay boogie), the triumphant “Lavender Pen” (recounting Mayor Moscone's signing of a non-discrimination proclamation) and the searing “Tired of the Silence”, in which the assembled singers exhort every gay person in the world to come out, come out, come out. (Using images that included reluctant, quasi-out Jodie Foster was perhaps a misstep, but damned if they weren't up-to-the-minute enough to include headlines from earlier today!)
Fantastic evening, surrounded by a lot of civic-minded gay people and our supporters, lovers of the arts and some glitterati; but the snazzy ensembles and relentless fitness of the crowd was just fashion, and the music and words were a reminder than being loud and demanding respect never goes out of style.
Gaga in NYC was shiteous! No, she was everything! (Oh, and without giving her/him a link, the elusive Angela Cheng wrote an offensive, viciously personal attack piece on Norris simply for saying how much he likes Gaga and for calling into question the fantasy figure of $25 million that Cheng asserts Interscope spent on Artpop promo. If you're a Madonna fan who tolerates Cheng, you're a party to that.)
Above: Dozens of Dressed to Kill-er photos!
BOY CULTURE REVIEW OF CYNDI LAUPER & CHER: ***1/2 out of ****
When Cher took the Dressed to Kill stage, the venue throbbed like the main artery in the middle of the guiltiest pleasure ever. She appeared beneath a gigantic set of pheasant feathers, adorned in more glitzy accoutrements than one could make from an entire discount bead store. And wearing dreads, a la Cleopatra. Her smile had that inimitable “I know, right?” quality that resides midway between intentional camp and an unapologetic love of all things tacky.
The showgirl had arrived.
She opened the concert with “Woman's World,” her mostly dismissed lead single from her latest album, Closer to the Truth. Heard months after its release as a kick-off tune, it sounds a lot better. Like quite a few of the numbers, it was done to track, but was sold hard by Cher via her facial expressions and easy flaunting of her costume.
She segued seamlessly (or, considering that bold costume, seamfully) into her scandalously underplayed 1998 release “Strong Enough,” which was lost on radio in the wake of “Believe.” Her gladiator-garbed backup dancers bounced around the stage with zero of the coolness of most divas' dancers; it wasn't about being cool, it was about being outrageous and flashy and inciting fun.
The projection behind her resembled a cheesy, vintage electronic one-armed bandit in all its 8bit glory.
Probably the least satisfying aspect of the show was the fact that in order to accommodate the myriad of costume changes, Cher spent a lot of time offstage while her dancers distracted us; it felt like there were several instances in which she sang only one song before disappearing to do a medium-quick change. But this allowed for spectacles like what came next, a gaudy, blood-red, vampire-themed “Dressed to Kill,” an album track from the latest CD.
7, count 'em, 7 Cyndi snaps in the gallery above
I've never seen a full Cher concert. #gayshame Or rather, I'd never seen one—until Friday, when I rectified that grave oversight.
I loved Cher when I was a kid, staying up past my bedtime to watch her endlessly entertaining, kitschapalooza of a variety show with Sonny, then lost interest when her promising acting career (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Silkwood are amazing) became a bit mainstream for my taste. I snapped out of my Cher love when she hit her schlock-rock/infomercial/Madonna-bashing phase.
But over the years, Cher has won me back time and again. I personally don't see her as a compelling artist so much as a true original, which can be just as transfixing and important in its own way. She is a personality always worth listening to and watching. And I've thoroughly enjoyed both her Twitter proclamations and her post-“Believe” disco, the latter of which I believe is far superior to at least some of the music she made during the original Disco Era.