Billy Idol and his guitarist Steve Stevens are rock gods! On May 29, 2015, they played an outdoor concert on Pier 97 in New York and it rocked so hard! I’ve seen Billy Idol perform a few times over the years (including earlier in 2015 at the Beacon Theatre – but there is no review because I was on a blog hiatus) and Billy Idol never disappoints.
On a blue highway…. Billy Idol!
If you know little of Billy Idol’s history, he’s been performing for nearly 40 years, which in and of itself is an amazing accomplishment. There was a period of time where he was a major drug addict and he was nearly killed in a horrible motorcycle accident where he was not expected to ever walk again, let alone perform. I mention these things because Billy Idol showed no signs of being anything other than a rock god for the duration of his performance.
Before I discuss how great Billy Idol looked and sounded, let me paint a picture of the scene. Pier 97 is located at 55th Street and the West Side Highway, and what that means to non-New Yorkers, is that you have a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline in the background as you watch the concert.
New York suffered a punishing winter, and the weather has just started to get nice, so being able to be outdoors and not freezing your ass off is such a treat and during the Billy Idol concert, the weather was absolutely perfect. The show kicked off with “Postcards from the Past,” a track from Billy Idol’s latest album “Kings and Queens of the Underground,” his first new album in almost 10 years. “Cradle of Love” was next and from then on, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. His signature moves of jumping around, “the snarl,” and fist pumping were present throughout the show and it drove the audience wild!
Because Billy Idol’s songs were played to death on the radio in the 80s, you sort of forget how great they sound when you have a concert full of people singing along to his songs and how many times, the songs lend themselves perfectly to crowd participation. For example, hearing the whole of Pier 97 shout out “FLESH! FLESH FOR FANTASY!” at every chorus during that song along with Billy gives me chills thinking about it. Or during “Rebel Yell,” when the crowd shouts out “More! More! More! Woooooooowwwwww!” or during “White Wedding” when the audience sings “It’s a nice day to…. STAAAAAART AGAAAAINNNNN!” is also chill inducing. During “Dancing With Myself,” at every chorus, Billy Idol said “If I had a chance, I’d ask NEW YORK to dance,” and if people hadn’t completely lost their minds by that point in the show, that sure did it. He also changed the lyrics of his cover of The Doors’ “LA Woman” to “New York Woman.”
Billy Idol gave many shout outs to New York, where he said that a lot of his hit songs were written here. He thanked the audience for “making my life so fucking great” and he also thanked his long time guitarist Steve Stevens for the same thing. Steve Stevens is a killer on guitar and he was given several guitar solos whereby he slayed the crowd!
Steve Stevens plays the guitar so effortlessly, that you could not help but watch him in awe as he shredded his guitar. During a lengthy solo, he was playing fast and slow which lead to the inevitable opening notes of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” and after a few seconds, he looked at the audience and shook his head no as if it was too cheesy to play that song and then he went back to his solo and scorched the guitar. He also slayed during his solos on songs like “Flesh For Fantasy” and “Rebel Yell” and during “White Wedding,” the track started off acoustically before transforming into the rockin’ version we all know and love by the second chorus.
The show closed with Billy Idol’s famous cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Mony Mony” and as always, it featured the in between lyrics crowd chants of “Hey Motherfucker, get laid, get fucked!” The show was about all you could ask for when it comes to the setlist as he dug deep in his back catalog all the way back to the Generation X days (with “Ready Steady Go!”), and he played the majority of his hits, with the exception of “Catch my Fall,” “To Be A Lover,” and “Don’t Need A Gun.” Perhaps he will resurrect those great songs for his next tour? If you have ever loved a Billy Idol song, and how could you not?, you should make sure you see him live the next time he comes to your city, because he and Steve Stevens are true rock gods!!!
I’d like to give a shout-out to Bar 9 for hooking me up with tickets. Thanks so much, I had a blast!
The setlist was:
Postcards from the Past / Cradle of Love / Can’t Break Me Down / Dancing With Myself / Flesh For Fantasy / Save Me Now / Ready Steady Go / Sweet Sixteen / Eyes Without a Face / LA Woman (Doors cover) / Steve Stevens Guitar Solo / Whiskey and Pills / Blue Highway / Rebel Yell
Encore: White Wedding / Drum Solo / Mony Mony (Tommy James and the Shondells Cover)
He’s already an art star in his native United Kingdom and now artist Chris Moon has taken a trip across the pond to debut his first US exhibit, an Armory Week related popup show entitled “Carousel.”
The exhibit is showing at 164 11th Avenue, one of the last pre-war buildings to be used as an art studio in Chelsea. The building will be torn down shortly after the exhibit. Moon lived and worked in this building for 3 months creating this exhibit. The carousel located in the neighboring Chelsea Piers appears repeatedly in the paintings – a symbolic gesture of Moon’s ability to incorporate his surroundings into his work.
“Carousel” by Chris Moon
I encourage you to click on these pictures to see clearer images, because there is a lot of detail that is not necessarily readily seen. I spent quite a while looking at his works at the opening night reception, and upon each glance, I kept noticing different things.
Email from Chris Moon. Click to enlarge.
Enlarge this image by clicking on it to read an email from Chris Moon that talks about the evolution of “Carousel.” Chris Moon counts Michael Fassbender, Sir Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and According2g as fans. Once you see his work, you will be too.
BOY GEORGE! Performing a way sold out show on April 22, 2014 at New York’s Irving Plaza, Boy George took to the Manhattan stage for the first time in over a decade (not counting DJ gigs) and it was a night to remember! Kicking off the show by playing his new album “This is What I Do,” Boy George played a beefy 24 song set that covered the musical gamut from reggae to country and back to rock, covers from Yoko Ono (“Death of Samantha”) and Bread (“Everything I Own”) to Lou Reed (“Satellite of Love”), T. Rex (“Get it On (Bang A Gong)” and Bob Dylan (“It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Make You Feel My Love”) plus a handful of Culture Club classics (“Church of the Poison Mind,” “Karma Chameleon,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” “Victims” and his solo hit “Bow Down Mister”)! His new album, if you haven’t already gotten it, is very diverse musically and George’s band kicked out the jams that feature extremely mature and spiritual lyrics. George quoted Eckhart Tolle telling the crowd to stay in the now and songs included “Feel the Vibration,” “Live Your Life” and George proclaimed that “love is bigger than war” during the track “Bigger Than War.” George, who seemed happy to be back on the New York stage soaked up the love that the crowd (which included Miss Guy and Debbie Harry) was showering him with. He told funny anecdotes in between songs and thanked the crowd for not talking too loudly to each other during the new songs. He especially thanked the crowd for supporting his new album.
When he got to “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” he went off on the crowd for taking invasive cell phone photos and video saying that “if he wanted the video to go up on youtube, he’d film it with a crew himself and not make us do it.” I was up in the VIP section in the balcony (not using flash, nor blocking the crowd trying to take annoying iPhone videos, nor being close enough to distract or annoy the performer) and I got the whole thing on video. Should I post it? You decide and let us know in the comments section. I was near the soundboard, so I was far from being invasive, but it’s a fine line you walk when you want to get the video out to the people and also want to respect the wishes of an artist you’ve loved for three decades!!! I did, however, post a video of the classic “Karma Chameleon” which immediately segued into a cover of T. Rex’ “Get It On (Bang A Gong).” Excuse me for a minute while my inner child freaks the fuck out for a little bit!
Now that I’ve regained my composure, can I just say on behalf of New York, please come back and play for us more regularly! We’ve missed you desperately George! If we have to rely on the thinly talented RuPaul as a hero in the gay community, we are seriously doomed! xx
And now… “Karma Chameleon” and “Get It On.” Just press play.
Boy George Irving Plaza Set List
The set list (despite the picture) was:
King of Everything / Death of Samantha (Yoko Ono cover) / Any Road (George Harrison cover) / My God / Feel the Vibration / Love and Danger / Live Your Life / Bigger Than War / Nice and Slow / My Star / It’s Easy / It Ain’t Me Babe (Bob Dylan cover) / Satellite of Love (Lou Reed cover) / Turn on a Little Light for Me / Church of the Poison Mind (Culture Club cover).
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Culture Club cover) / Everything I Own (Bread cover) / Karma Chameleon (Culutre Club cover) / Get It On (Bang a Gong) (T. Rex cover) / Bow Down Mister
Play Me / Victims (Culture Club cover) / Make You Feel My Love (Bob Dylan cover)
After I saw Alexander McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” exhibit at the Met a few years ago, I was convinced that I saw the best fashion exhibit I would probably ever see. I was wrong! The Brooklyn Museum has an insanely cool exhibit by designer Jean Paul Gaultier entitled: “The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk” and if you like fashion, you cannot miss this exhibit. First off, the presentation of the outfits is great. Each of the seven main rooms has a different theme, from the streets of Paris to his cinematic influences and over 140 outfits are on display. As an added bonus, if you are a Madonna fan, sketches, rare photos and iconic outfits (such as the cone bra bustier) are on display.
Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour outfits
The exhibit also does something unique (which will be emulated in exhibits to come) whereby the mannequins have facial projections to make the exhibit even more interactive.
The photos you are seeing here are a tiny portion of the exquisite outfits that are on display, and of course, you cannot see the detail that was crafted into each garment.
Clearly, it’s not wise to compare the work of two designers who drew from different inspirations, but McQueen’s “Savage Beauty” exhibit kept coming to mind (possibly because of the breadth of the costumes and the various thematic rooms) and whereas I had a very creepy feeling in the McQueen exhibit (that foreshadowed his suicide), whereas Gaultier’s exhibit is much more colorful and lively.
Don’t worry if you are not a Madonna fan – outfits worn by Kylie Minogue, Mylene Farmer, Depeche Mode, Nirvana and Cameo (yes, Cameo!) are represented in this show.
Remember this outfit that caused a commotion when Madonna wore it?
In the photo below, the mannequins were on a revolving platform that gave the illusion that you were watching a live fashion show. Very well done!
And presented without comment – more amazing images from this must see show!
Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier
Unseen Polaroids of Madonna and Gaultier circa 1990
Jean Paul Gaultier
And last but not least…
Gaultier — The Merch!
There is also a fantastic coffee table book of the exhibit that I looked through, so if you cannot make it out to the Brooklyn Museum before February 23, 2014, you should definitely think about getting it.
Hot new band(s) alert! On June 29, 2013, a very hot and steamy NYC night, Bowery Ballroom was home to a sold out show featuring rock and rollers JMSN and The Neighbourhood. The show kicked off at 9 pm with Detroit’s JMSN (pronounced ‘Jameson’).
Christian Berishaj of JMSN
JMSN, who cites influences from Phil Collins to Prince to Radiohead, plays a nice blend of rock and R&B. It’s worth noting that Wikipedia calls this genre “PBR&B” (yes, PBR for Pabst Blue Ribbon)! Love that! Lead singer Christian Berishaj engaged the crowd almost immediately with catchy sing-a-long songs, and his voice was quite strong too. JMSN’s debut album “Priscilla” was released in 2012 and they played the singles “Hotel,” “Alone” and “Something” in their 45 minute set. The audience did not want JMSN to leave the stage, but inevitably, they cleared room for the main attraction – The Neighbourhood.
The Neighbourhood at Bowery Ballroom
California’s The Neighbourhood hit the stage around 10:20 PM and rocked the crowd for nearly an hour and a half. Playing largely in the dark with flashing lights during choruses, the atmospheric mood of the show made it easier (and less embarrassing) for the crowd to rock out! The alt-rock quintet has a ton of catchy songs in their arsenal and the crowd was singing along throughout the entire show. One of the highlights was the track “W.D.Y.W.F.M?” (What Do You Want From Me?) which featured a back and forth singalong between the crowd and The Neighbourhood’s lead singer Jesse Rutherford trading off shouting “What.” The Neighbourhood didn’t just sound great but they also looked great. Tattoos, torn clothes and the moves that any good rock band should have are all qualities The Neighbourhood possess and if the reactions that Bowery Ballroom had during their set are a predictor of future success, The Neighbourhood is going to be huge!
Jesse Rutherford of The Neighbourhood
See the setlist as well as photos of my encounters with the band after the jump.