One of the most reclusive figures in music came out of hiding last night on May 21, 2014 as the Red Bull Music Academy hosted “A Conversation with D’Angelo” at the Brooklyn Museum. The auditorium was packed with fans, like me all who thought we’d finally get some of our questions answered – namely “WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN FOR THE LAST 14 YEARS?!”
Nelson George and D’Angelo
Music critic Nelson George moderated the conversation and it was super fascinating, even though extremely light on subjects such as the two solo albums D’Angelo has released over the last 20 years, 1995′s “Brown Sugar” (which was mentioned very briefly) and 2000′s “Voodoo” (which was discussed for much less time than D’Angelo’s first band – I.D.U. which stands for Intelligent, Deadly, Unique). Name-checked during the conversation were Jesse Johnson, Alan Leeds, Prince and Questlove (who came up to the stage twice to help fill in D’Angelo’s stories). It was also amusing that D’Angelo smoked cigarettes on stage inside the auditorium of a museum! This is the second time I’ve seen someone smoke cigarettes near art (the first being Courtney Love).
D’Angelo and Questlove
The most fascinating fact of the night had nothing to do with D’Angelo’s music and instead it was about Sly Stone (of Sly and The Family Stone). D’Angelo mentioned that he’s met with Sly and Sly’s played him some of the “vast amounts” of unreleased music that he’s consistently recorded over the years including Sly’s experimentation with Auto-Tune, but D’Angelo said that he takes the vocal enhancer to a whole new level of weirdness – and could we expect any less from Sly? Will those Sly songs ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Will any new studio material from D’Angelo ever see the light of day? We have no idea. Though I thoroughly enjoyed watching the talk, I learned less about D’Angelo than is on his Wikipedia page, which was not just disappointing, but it left me scratching my head wondering why “the elephant in the room” (aka “why has there been no new music in 14 years aside from a surprise concert here and there over the years”) was not the focal point of this discussion.
Until there is new music, at least the world has the classic “Voodoo” and “Brown Sugar” albums to help us groove and make babies to. Any time you want to release music, the world is ready, willing and waiting!
Apparently the conversation was streamed live over the internet and I am not sure if it will be archived for later viewing, so check Google.
The last time I saw Berlin in concert, I was living in Los Angeles, so it’s been close to a decade since I’ve seen Terri Nunn in the flesh. That was remedied on May 3, 2014 as Berlin packed the house at New York’s Cutting Room. Terri Nunn looks and sounds better than ever (what are her beauty secrets and exercise regime? She looks great! You go, girl!) and played a setlist that appealed to die-hards, while still showcasing tracks off Berlin’s latest album (which is quite good, by the way) “Animal.” Before the night was over, we got to hear classics such as “The Metro,” “Masquerade,” “Pleasure Victim,” “Dancing In Berlin,” “Take My Breath Away,” “Like Flames,” new songs such as “Nice To Meet You,” “With The Lights On,” a cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love,” and one of my favorite songs from Berlin - “Sex (I’m A…)”
A quick note about the video, despite being in the front row, I was over to the side so occasionally, my vision was blocked by members of the band! Ha! But you will definitely see why you need to see Terri Nunn every time she comes to your city so just click play!
See the set list and a photo of my encounter with the gorgeous Terri Nunn after the jump.
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)
Hot new artist alert! Tahliah Barnett, better known as FKA Twigs is a trip hop/R&B/pop singer from Britain and in addition to her gorgeous look, her music is infectious. She performed a show at Glasslands in Brooklyn the other night and whilst she kept the mood going by virtually performing in the dark, that makes for horrible photos. So in lieu of those, I will tell you that FKA stands for “formerly known as” since another artist named Twigs was upset that she took on the name Twigs, which refers to the sound her joints make when they crack. Learn more about FKA Twigs on her website. Best of luck to you Tahliah and I look forward to seeing you again!