Photos and words by G.
Boy George of Culture Club
1980s music titans Culture Club are back. They slayed New York last night, July 27, 2015, with the first of two sold out shows at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan. Here are 5 things I observed at the show:
Boy George of Culture Club
1. Culture Club have so many great songs! When I arrived at the Beacon Theatre, a DJ was spinning 1980s music remixed with modern beats, which set the mood for an incredibly good time. At the stroke of 8:30, Boy George, Mikey Craig, Roy Hay and Jon Moss, better known as Culture Club, hit the stage. A video montage of Culture Club’s highs and lows preceded the band coming out and then they pummeled the crowd with hit after hit. If you had the pleasure to be alive when these songs came out, you remember that these tracks were so massive, the radio all but played them to death. When you see songs as beloved as these performed in a large concert hall, the enthusiasm of the crowd makes you fall in love with them all over again.
Roy Hay and Boy George
Kicking off with “Church of the Poison Mind,” the entire night was a giant sing-a-long, with the audience losing its mind during classic tracks such as “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” “It’s a Miracle,” “Miss Me Blind,” “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “Move Away,” fan favorite “Black Money,” “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” and the song that the audience went the most bonkers over, “Karma Chameleon.” Two of Boy George’s solo hits, covers of “Everything I Own and “The Crying Game” were also played to much adulation from the crowd. David Bowie’s “Starman,” which was included on Culture Club’s first reunion album in 2001, closed out the show. But the night was not all nostalgia, Culture Club is working on a new record and 6 songs were aired, including the self reflective “Like I Used To,” “Different Man,” “Let Somebody Love You,” and their latest single “More Than Silence.”
Boy George of Culture Club
2. Culture Club’s music transports you back to a time where things were not disposable. As Boy George pointed out on stage, the world is finally starting to get its first taste of sexual equality and this was the world Boy George has wanted to create and live in since the onset of his career. When you think of how far we’ve come since Culture Club debuted in 1982, you realize how many barriers were broken down by this band. How many other bands do you know that were multi-racial, straight, had an extremely outspoken, openly gay lead singer and had crossover appeal throughout the world? Not many! Boy George has always been uncompromising in his stance on being yourself under any circumstance and not giving a fuck what anyone thinks of you. In a time where you faced much more persecution from your peers and the media for being flamboyant, out and proud than you do today, gay culture owes a huge debt of gratitude to Boy George for never backing down.
3. Culture Club shows still attract a widely diverse audience. I’ve seen the band together and Boy George solo on many occasions, and you will rarely find a more diverse crowd. Last night, you could readily find young and old people, gay, straight and of all races and that is a great thing. I think the audience had a collective realization of all these things I said after “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” was played and the ovation after the song went on for several minutes and Boy George even had to tell the audience to stop cheering because he was about to get emotional from the outpouring of love.
Roy Hay and Mikey Craig
4. Culture Club has aged really well. From the songs still sounding amazing, to the fact that the band looks great and well preserved, Culture Club may have only had a few hit albums, but they left a permanent mark in music history. Boy George famously had drug and legal problems for many years and not only was he in good shape physically, he also sounded great. His voice is a little huskier than it used to be, but he can still hit the notes and he still lets you have it with his witty onstage banter, his numerous costume changes and his “it quality” as a performer.
5. I would be remiss if I didn’t get up on my soap box to complain about the excessive amount of selfie and picture taking that went on. I am guilty of taking photos as much as the next person, but there is one slight difference – I use an actual camera (which is cheaper than an iPhone and light and compact to carry around) and I bring this up because I do not have to block other people’s views to take my pictures. What exactly are the people doing with all these photos and videos they are taking? Certainly not blogging about them for a worldwide audience to read! Cell phone photos come out much worse than camera photos. Also, they are much more obtrusive and people literally don’t seem to care at all about anyone around them, because the only way to get a photo is to hold the device over your head, which blocks the view of EVERYONE behind you. Take as many photos as you like and I don’t care if you watch the entire show through the back of your phone – but PLEASE PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings!!!!! So many times in the show, Boy George came over to our side to serenade us and his face was cock blocked by everyone around me holding up their fucking phones and even worse, their giant iPads!!! Boy George complained about this during his last solo tour and I wish he would have said something about it last night because it’s plain excessive – and it’s happening at every concert I go to, and as I go to a lot of shows, it’s starting to become a deal breaker for me.
The irony is that many of the concert goers should know better because when this music came out, it was not a digital age and we actually had to live in the moment and experience the concert. I guess some nostalgia is conveniently forgotten.
Roy Hay, Jon Moss, Mikey Craig of Culture Club
The setlist was:
Church of the Poison Mind / It’s A Miracle / I’ll Tumble 4 Ya / Let Somebody Love You / Everything I Own / Like I Used To / Move Away / Black Money / Victims / Human Zoo / Time (Clock of the Heart) / Different Man / Miss Me Blind / I Just Want To Be Loved / The Crying Game / Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? / More Than Silence
Crowd Sing-a-Long of Karma Chameleon / Runaway Train / Karma Chameleon
Boy George – He’s a star, man!
Photos and words by G.
Roger Daltrey of The Who
The Who are celebrating their 50th anniversary as a band by touring and I popped my Who cherry by seeing them perform at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on May 26, 2015. As someone who has seen nearly all living rock and roll legends in concert, I felt I owed it to myself to go check out The Who and here are 10 things I observed while watching their show:
1. Despite being down two (of 4) original members (RIP John Entwistle and Keith Moon), the two that are left – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend – may be both 70 but they rocked and rocked hard for 2 solid hours with no intermission.
2. The visuals that showed on the screens behind The Who were amazing. Every song had a different trippy pattern and many times, the screens showed highlights of The Who’s amazing 50 year career.
3. While Pete Townshend did not smash any guitars, he did his signature move where he swings his arm in a circular motion while jammin’ out. Seeing him do that move throughout the show (as well as watching Roger Daltrey swing his microphone) are so iconic that it was definitely a show highlight. On the subject of Pete Townshend, he told a lot of funny stories in between songs and poked fun at how old he and Roger are.
4. Despite being in the dreaded Brooklyn, Barclays Center is a really nice venue. The people that work there are always super friendly. The site lines are pretty good unless you have nosebleed seats, in which case, if you have a fear of heights, you will definitely be freaked out. Pete Townshend also gave Brooklyn a nice little dig when he said “it’s good to be back in New York, even if it is Brooklyn.”
5. The ticket said 7:30 pm, and they were not kidding. At 7:30, opener Joan Jett and the Blackhearts promptly took the stage. Joan Jett was great! She did an 11 song set that included “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock and Roll,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” “Light of Day,” and “Cherry Bomb.” Hearing the audience participate in mass sing-a-longs of these tracks was awesome and it was a great taste of what to come when The Who took the stage. As a side note, I think that Joan and I might have been the only gays in the entire building, so I am glad we represented! Also, in between Joan Jett’s set (hey, it rhymes) and The Who, the screens showed a visual history of The Who’s career and they mentioned that Joan Jett recorded her first album at The Who’s studio and she didn’t have any money at the time so she promised to pay back the money (and she did) and also included a Who cover as the b-side of her first single.
6. Like with Joan Jett, The Who have so many classic songs, that even if you think you are sick of them, they sound amazing when an arena full of people are singing them in unison. Some examples of the massive hits played were “Who Are You,” “The Kids Are Alright,” “My Generation,” “Pinball Wizard,” “You Better You Bet,” “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “Eminence Front.”
7. The Who didn’t just play the same old boring setlist (which from my research looks like it varies a little bit for each show). They packed the set with hits, but they also played some lesser known tracks such as the mini-opera “A Quick One (While He’s Away),” “Slip Kid,” “Bargain,” “Sparks,” “Join Together,” and “I’m One.”
No Marijuana Smoking
8. Roger Daltrey got a ration of shit recently for complaining that people were smoking pot too close to the stage. To not look like such an asshole, before the concert, the above message was shown to the audience explaining that the smoke bothers Roger’s voice and if compromised, the show could be canceled. Roger also addressed this on stage, which made a lot of people roll their eyes. Seems a little on the douchey side, but the message was redeemed when they offered an alternative – “eat one of them funny cakes instead.”
The Who at Barclays
9. The Who mentioned numerous times before, during and after the show that proceeds from selected tour ephemera would be donated to help children fight cancer. Pretty commendable because most merch proceeds from big bands go into building another wing for their mansions.
Keep Calm and Listen to The Who
10. To think that The Who have been performing some of these songs for 50 years is so impressive. They found a way to breathe new life into their older material and as a result, this did not come across as a sad version of a formerly great band. Instead, they rocked harder than many bands who weren’t even born when The Who had their last hit song. If The Who come to your city, should you see them? You better, you better, you bet!
Joan Jett’s set list was:
Bad Reputation / Cherry Bomb / Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah) / You Drive Me Wild / Light of Day / Love is Pain / The French Song / Different / I Love Rock and Roll / Crimson & Clover / I Hate Myself For Loving You
The Who’s set list was:
I Can’t Explain / The Seeker / Who Are You / The Kids Are Alright / I Can See For Miles / My Generation / Behind Blue Eyes / Slip Kid / Bargain / Join Together / You Better You Bet / I’m One / Love, Reign O’er Me / Eminence Front / A Quick One (While He’s Away) / Amazing Journey (with “Captain Walker” snippet from “Overture”) / Sparks / Pinball Wizard / See Me, Feel Me / Baba o’Riley / Won’t Get Fooled Again
HD Video, photos and words by G.
May the 4th is Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you, get it?!) and for music lovers such as myself, May the 4th was the night of a rare intimate performance by Erik Hassle on the roof top of The Standard Hotel in New York’s East Village. Erik Hassle comes from Sweden and if you aren’t already a fan, you will be by the end of this article.
NYC Skyline Spring 2015
This was the backdrop on an extremely rare perfect weather night in New York City on May 4, 2015 as an intimate crowd of less than 100 people gathered to hear Erik Hassle perform an 8 song set that included his new single “No Words.”
Raymundo and Erik Hassle
NYC Skyline Spring 2015
As you are about to see and hear, Erik Hassle’s voice is so soulful and his dance moves are infectious. Rather than trying to describe how awesome Erik Hassle is, just click play and watch his great new song, “No Words.” I would also like you to pay close attention at the 2:12 mark, when Erik spotted me in the crowd and sang straight into my camera. It’s epic!!!
Sunset on May 4, 2015 in New York
NYC Skyline Spring 2015
Thanks to Erik for such a great show. Make sure you are following According2g and Erik Hassle on Instagram and visit Erik’s official site or his Soundcloud page to hear more of his great tunes.
Thanks again to Erik Hassle for a great evening! “No Words” is out now!!!
Erik Hassle Set List Standard East Village
Photos and words by G.
Eric Clapton! The legendary rocker celebrated his 70th birthday (a bit late as his actual birthday is March 30) with a pair of sold out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. I attended the first show on May 1, 2015. I’ve seen nearly every living rock and roll legend in some fashion over the years, but this was my first glimpse of Eric Clapton, so you can imagine my excitement.
Saying very little to the crowd (aside from “thank yous” after each song), Eric Clapton brought out his first guest star 3 songs in – John Mayer. The two jammed on the song “Pretending.” For what Clapton lacked in saying in words, he sure made up for it by playing some amazing guitar solos all night that let you know without a doubt you made the right choice by attending the concert.
John Mayer and Jimmie Vaughan
John Mayer was not the only guest of the night as Clapton also brought out Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II and Derek Trucks. Also in his band was Paul Carrack, who sang a few songs including “You Are So Beautiful.” Clapton also saluted Ben E. King, who died earlier in the day and dedicated “Driftin’ Blues” to him.
Doyle Bramhall, Derek Trucks
Aside from the absence of Cream songs, Eric Clapton played songs from all eras of his career from “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith to the acoustic rendition of “Layla” that he’d made famous decades earlier with his group Derek and the Dominoes. He also played “Tears in Heaven,” which resulted in tears in Madison Square Garden from the audience as the song is about the death of his child.
Other highlights of the night were covers of “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out,” “Cross Road Blues” “Hoochie Coochie Man” as well as “I Shot The Sheriff” and “Cocaine.” You can imagine how cool it was to have the whole of Madison Square Garden shout out in unison – “COCAINE!” The show ended with an all star jam on the Joe Cocker cover “High Time We Went.” Eric Clapton told the audience that this was the best birthday he’s ever had and with that, the 2 hour show was over.
The Finale at Eric Clapton’s 70th birthday show (from left: Eric’s backing singers, Paul Carrack, John Mayer, Jimmie Vaughan, Doyle Bramhall II, Derek Trucks, Eric Clapton, Nathan East)
The setlist was:
Somebody’s Knocking / Keys to the Highway / Pretending (with John Mayer) / Hoochie Coochie Man / You Are So Beautiful (with Paul Carrack) / Can’t Find My Way Home (with Nathan East) / I Shot The Sheriff / Driftin’ Blues (acoustic) / Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (acoustic) / Tears In Heaven (acoustic) / Layla (acoustic) / Before You Accuse Me (with Jimmie Vaughan) / Wonderful Tonight / Let it Rain (with Derek Trucks and Doyle Brahmhall II) / Cross Road Blues / Little Queen of Spades / Cocaine.
Encore: High Time We Went (all star jam)
Jimmie Vaughan and Eric Clapton
Photos and words by G.
On March 23, 2015, Sweden’s Erik Hassle played a sold-out show at Pianos in New York. The show was announced at the last minute, making it even more impressive that fans packed the house for the criminally underrated pop/soul singer. Erik Hassle is currently supporting New Zealand’s Broods (see video I shot at one of their first ever US shows here) and decided to book a solo gig where he showcased several new songs in front of an adoring crowd, which also included his parents and many of his friends from Sweden. Erik Hassle has a hell of a voice, very soulful and his dance moves on stage will make you fall in love with him.
I would normally be posting a video I took at the show, but sadly the Youtube police are after me at the moment for copyright infringement – despite the fact that I don’t make a penny from my Youtube account AND I post concert videos with the intention of turning my readers onto music they probably would not be exposed to without my site. Thanks for sticking up for me (and all the others that are in a similar position) bands, managers, etc – NOT! Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?!
Erik Hassle – Pianos
So in the absence of a live version of “Innocence Lost,” which I would have loved to have posted, you should definitely check out that song. It’s amazing! If you want to see the video, you can come over to my place. Ha! As an alternate plan, for my international readers, you can see a little clip of “Fuck The Pain Away” on my Instagram account. In addition, you can hear samples of many Erik Hassle tracks on his official website (link will open in a new window). Before his final song of the night “No Words,” Erik mentioned that the song will be available as a single in the next few weeks, so be on the look out for that song. It was great! Follow him on his Soundcloud page for updates.
Erik Hassle is supporting Broods on the following dates, so make sure you don’t miss his set (because it will likely be as good if not better than the main act).
03/25 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
03/26 – Trocadero Theater – Philadelphia, PA
03/27 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
03/28 – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
03/29 – Masquerade (Hell Stage) – Atlanta, GA
03/31 – Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
04/01 – Trees – Dallas, TX
04/02 – Emo’s – Austin, TX
Erik Hassle Pianos Setlist
Thanks for a great show Erik. Can’t wait to see you again!