Why bother prospecting on Spotify, perusing YouTube or skimming the airwaves in search of the latest musical nugget when you can rely on a safe bet? While the sounds of the eighties seem today to be a prerogative of a young French scene struggling to be inventive, their originators are far from beaten: Boy George and Culture Club in concert at the Palais Garnier, Tears For Fears at the AccorHotels Arena, The Cure at the Rock en Seine festival… These three bands (the first two born in 1981, the third started in 1976) are preparing their comeback in the pantheon of sounds with a resolutely New Wave round of honour. But must we really succumb to the charms of yesteryear? Isn’t this just nostalgia barely concealing a gang of knackered old guys, legs wobbling, coughing into their mics, hands pressed to their heads trying to hide their baldness? If, like wine, accumulated years does not guarantee quality, we’ll just have to be satisfied with optimism before buying our tickets for the mosh pit.
1. Boy George and Culture Club blast the Palais Garnier
On December 2nd, British band Culture Club were back with a vengeance at the Palais Garnier driven by leader Boy George. Having split up 19 years ago, Mikey Craig (bassist), Jon Moss (drummer), Roy Hay (guitarist) and the eccentric singer Boy George have reformed to produce a sixth album, Life, released in October and are on stage in Paris for one night only. With their reggae sonorities and unifying lyrics, the new tracks are wiser and less subversive than back in the day. Just look at the video for the first poetic and compassionate track, Let Somebody Love You where we see a Boy George striding through the middle of a crowd. A smile on his face, kohled eyes and a top hat are all reminiscent of the ambiguous and nonconformist looks of the 80s star, who regularly hit the headlines with his multicolour dreadlocks, excess blusher and extravagant manicures.
Free and uncomplicated, the group behind the neo-reggae lament Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (1982) and hit singles Karma Chameleon (1983) and It’s a Miracle (1983) arrived in the charts like a veritable pop/funk UFO when they first started out in 1981. Culture Club was born from a nightclub encounter between Boy George and the future guitarist Mikey Craig, then joined by musicians Jon Moss and Roy Hay, with whom they wrote music inspired by the disco, jazz-rock, soul and reggae vibes of the era. But it’s also the story of a rebellious band that appealed to borderline adolescents, the gay community and girls who adopted the iconic style of Boy George. Consecration came with their album Colour by Numbers (1983) which sold nearly 16 million copies and over the years the band sold more than 50 million albums around the world. Now in 2018, the four amigos are giving the French public another chance to vibrate to their electric sounds as part of their worldwide Club Life Tour.