It’s not often you meet someone who hasn’t heard of Boy George and Culture Club, but as they kicked off their set at Newmarket Nights, with a chest thumping rendition of Church of the Poison Mind, I was delighted to find myself in the company of a young man who had never heard of them! But for most present, it was the return of one of the most well known and much loved bands in English pop culture!
Older, but no less recognisable, each band member (Boy George (vocals), Roy Hay (guitar and keyboards), Mikey Craig (bass guitar) and Jon Moss (drums) took his place on stage, in the build up to a set filled with the familiar catchy melodies and lyrics that have made Culture Club a household name since the 80s. Playing a comprehensive back catalogue which included: It’s a Miracle, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, and Everything I Own, Time, Victims and Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? The sound was jaw dropping, the band as tight as ever and George’s voice has mellowed into a richer and evermore soulful quality.
With backing singers and additional keyboards and guitar, the full on performance had everyone singing and dancing along. It was more of a party atmosphere than a concert, with the odd cover thrown in including; Tainted Love, You Can’t Always Get What You Want/Walk on the Wild Side/Bang A Gong
There is no doubt that George is a charismatic showman and not just visually. With his trademark hat he wandered the stage, holding court. His casual interaction with the crowd, included talking about; the diversity of the band. The fact his Dad, being Irish, was rather fond of a flutter on the horses. Ribbing those using their phones to video the concert, when they would have a much better experience just watching and enjoying it and finally that it’s ok to smile and look like you’re having a good time…all of which showed him at his finest; quick witted, funny and totally at ease. One cannot help but feel he should be classed as a National Treasure . He and the band never stopped looking like they were having a ball and that energy extended to the audience. The passing of the years since that first appearance on Top of the Pops in 1981 has certainly not slowed them. In a fitting finale including Karma Chameleon they closed their show and proved they are still as good today as ever.