Boy George at KOKO
Promoting the release of his first studio album in 18 years, Boy George dazzles fans with classic hits as well as new material from This Is What I Do, alongside musical guests and a nine-piece accompanying band at KOKO in Camden.
Enthusiasts seeking a trip back to the golden age of 80s pop music may have been surprised to hear that Boy George has put a new spin on his dated style, with support from talented instrumentalists complementing him as a musician and not simply a novelty. With the likes of Kevan Frost on bass, Mike Gorman on keyboard, Richie Stevens on drums and an engaging brass section, beloved cheesy tracks can now also be appreciated rhythmically.
Opening with Play Me, Boy George’s entrance generates much enthusiasm from the crowd, and although there is a general expectation of what’s to come, the melody the group creates is quite surprising. With a mellow, jazz tune supported by the trombone, trumpet and saxophone, Boy George’s compelling vocals truly stand out. And while his approach may have changed, Boy George stays true to his character, ostentatiously dressed in a matching cream-coloured straw hat and jacket.
Covering all 12 tracks from the album, the singer was strategic in playing fans’ favourites throughout the show. Special guests Jennifer Maidman and Annie Whitehead joined in on guitar and trombone for numbers like Live Your Life and My Star and successfully added greater variety and soul to an already dynamic ensemble.
Though his sound has evolved considerably over the span of almost two decades, Boy George’s hits are just as celebrated as ever. A masterful new rendition of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, reworked with the most creative and soulful trumpet solo, was a highlight. And as the crowd chant back the chorus to him all camera phones are up in the air, devices recording this epic hit.
With a slightly edgier take on Culture Club chart-toppers like Church of the Poison Mind, Karma Chameleon, Bow down Mister and Victims, Boy George has effectively rebranded himself for a new audience while also still appeasing long-time followers.
Photos: Music Like Dirt
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Watch the video for Church of the Poison Mind here: