Gig Review and Photography by Shen Salih

Culture Club

Culture Club took to the stage of legendary Eventim Apollo (AKA Hammersmith Apollo, AKA Hammersmith Odeon – (however you remember it, your memories will be fond!). They played a ‘not so secret’ sold out one-off show, to end their run of dates across North America and to make up for their cancelled 2014 UK tour. With a jam-packed bag of hits on the set-list the band covered old favourites and of course some new material too, and they brought the house down!

Culture Club

Shooting for the first 3 songs, I was down the front and the atmosphere was absolutely electric; die-hard fans, some in outfits paying tribute to Culture Club front-man Boy George, but all of them absolutely chomping at the bit for the headline act to take to the stage.

Culture Club

There were 2 support acts before Culture Club, the first being soul singer Joe Worricker (who George has recorded a duet with for a remix album), flanked by sax, drums and bass Joe and his band played a relatively subdued set which, for the few that had gathered early enough, seemed to go down well. For me he was a little too loungey, hanging on the notes a little too long with unnecessary vibrato. As his set continued things picked up a little and a couple of tracks really got people going. Think Sam Smith crossed with the ballad side of Boy George, but with none of the life-experience and you’re there. Not bad, but nothing memorable for me.

Culture Club

Next up was Brando and they took it up several notches and as the crowd grew so did the atmosphere! With driving guitars and big drums, they played a fantastic set and built the energy of the crowd perfectly. I’d love to link you all to them, but I’ll be damned if I can find them online, bar a Twitter page that is pretty much empty! Anyway, if they can get the right team behind them I’d definitely peg them as ones to watch – think Kaiser Chiefs without a bit of a knob of a front man and better musicality!

Culture Club

9 O’clock on the dot, the house lights came down and slowly the recognisable faces of Culture Club filled the stage; Jon Moss on drums, Roy Hay on guitar, Mikey Craig on bass and of course, making his grand entrance, Boy George on vocals. Head to toe in red and gold (no green though) George was looking in fantastic shape, his new healthy lifestyle clearly suits him when you think back to several years back and it’s clearly helped his voice age very well.

Culture Club

Opening with Church Of The Poison Mind (my personal favourite) they instantly had the crowd on their feet and several rushing to the front to catch a better glimpse of their idol. Sadly the seated option for Hammersmith doesn’t work well for gigs like this, the crowd are desperate to be closer to the stage, and it even kicks off a little down the front with security escorting people back to their seats. It’s great what you get to see as a photographer down the front, but with no pit for us it can make shooting a little tricky! Next up they kept things up-beat with Its Miracle and Tumble for Ya – 2 more of my faves; sod’s law they’d be the 3 tracks we were shooting through!

Culture Club

George and the band we’re super tight all night, and his vocals were spot on for the more upbeat and energetic numbers, it felt like a bit of a time-warp, like I’d entered the 80’s and George was in his heyday, that’s how good his vocals were. But of course, having been born in ’83, I didn’t experience Culture Club live back then… I always felt I was born in the wrong era though so I’m glad their performance evoked such feelings for me!

Culture Club

After Tumble, I head back to my seat to enjoy the rest of the evening with my other half, and that’s exactly what we did. We danced and sang to all of our favourites like their cover of Everything I Own, Time, Miss Me Blind and of course Do You Really Want to Hurt Me. For me an absolute highlight was Victims – such an incredible song, a perfect arrangement for a pop ballad and it had the whole room singing along! It was with tracks like victims where you could hear that George is no longer a twenty-something by, his voice aged and filled with experience and whilst he might not have sung all the notes of the years gone by, the songs were tweaked to suit his range and worked really well.

Culture ClubCulture Club

The band treated us to some cracking newer tracks too like Different Man (written as a tribute to the legendary Sly Stone), Runaway Train (written for another legend that is Johnny Cash) and, as first encore More Than Silence – with its epic chorus evoking memories of a an epic John Hughes movie! These tracks are taken from their eagerly anticipated album Tribes which is due for release very soon, after several delays!

Culture Club

Along with the 4-piece we all know and love, Culture club were joined on stage by a 3-piece brass section, 2 percussionists, a guitarist and a trio of female backing vocalists, each with a red, gold and green trilby, who did an absolute sterling job in providing those higher notes! Speaking of hats, I lost count of how many George changed into throughout the night, each one more epic than the last and all painstakingly and lovingly hand made by the legendary Philip Treacy.

Culture Club

Throughout the night George interacted with the audience; regaling us with stories of how the band met, not too far from Hammersmith and ‘complimenting’ a chap down the front in a white and yellow get-up very much in line with something George would wear himself ‘You clearly have more money than you deserve!’ but all said in jest and with love! Having seen Boy George play Koko late in 2013, I could really tell the difference in him sharing the stage with his old band mates – he seemed braver, boulder and that little bit cheekier; the loveable rogue out on the town with his lads for the night! Closing the night with Karma Chameleon and a cover of t-Rex’s Bang A Gong (Get It On), Culture Club weren’t quite ready to leave, so they treated us all to another cover, this time it was another hero of theirs – David Bowie’s ‘Starman’. A fantastic night all round which more than met my expectations!

Culture Club

Set List:

  1. Church of the Poison Mind
  2. It’s a Miracle
  3. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
  4. Like I Used To
  5. Everything I Own (Bread cover)
  6. Let Somebody Love You
  7. Black Money
  8. Victims
  9. Move Away
  10. Human Zoo
  11. Time
  12. The Crying Game (Dave Berry cover)
  13. Different Man
  14. Miss Me Blind
  15. Runaway Train
  16. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

Encore:

  1. More Than Silence
  2. Karma Chameleon
  3. Bang A Gong (Get It On) (T. Rex cover)
  4. Starman (David Bowie cover)

13 Responses to “Culture Club + Brando + Joe Worricker at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith, London, UK – 5th September 2015”

  1. Jean-Michel Le Couëdic Says:

    Many thanks for this great review. I was there last night too and I share your views of the gig. Although I am 15 years older than you are you seem to have captured what Culture Club is all about. Back in 1982 when Do You Really Want To Hurt Me was released, I was 15 and I knew I had something in common with Boy George. Did not really know or understand what it was to be gay but I knew! I’ve now been living in the UK for 23 years and my dreams have come true. I’d seen George on stage before but never with the other members of Culture Club. I used to fancy Jon Moss (not anymore)so last night for me was magical and I have shared your review with my friends on Facebook(I may not have many but I know them all). Thank you.

  2. Deborah Ann long Says:

    Amazing night , best night of my life!!!

  3. Bob Fierro Says:

    Excellent review!

  4. Glinda Says:

    Such a good well written review. You clearly have the same taste in music that I do! You can tell you were really there unlike some reviewers.

    I love how you noticed there’s a big difference between George solo and CC as a band. Culture Club is not just George, no matter what some people say.

    A++++ for such a fabulous review.

  5. Shen Salih Says:

    Hi guys
    Thanks so much for your lovely comments! It seems George and CC have had a big impact on all of you, in a positive way which is lovely to hear! It was a fab night, so glad to have been a part of it this time around, still gutted I’m not 15 years older though lol! x

  6. Donna Quinn Says:

    Great review :)

    The band where on top form so glad George was enjoying himself. Mikey was brill before the concert signing stuff for the fans and having photos taken. Such a lovely man. Loved the lighting inside and out side was really beautiful

    Well done x

  7. Simon Says:

    Nice review! :)

  8. Linda Says:

    Culture club were amazing as always, loved Brando too ! not alot about them online , have heard alot about them on boy georges official site and on twitter too ! https://soundcloud.com/angela-gina-dust/brando-demo-learning-to-love?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter found this demo of theirs online

  9. Julie and Dawn Says:

    What a great review of a fab night!
    Appropriately mentioned security. More braun than brain! The mixed messages to those standing were causing problems. Most of staff lovely but every so often a heavy handed security mob would upset everyone. With a hardcore fan base of 35+ Yrs, and who know each other and whom the band Know just don’t think security needed to act so rudely. Safety of band fine and respect that but I dread to think how they’d cope if there were trouble.

  10. Dee Gillespie Says:

    Great review of an amazing Culture Club gig. We all also absolutely loved Brando – the world definitely needs to know more about them!

  11. Jessye Says:

    Thank you very much for this outstanding review! I can imagine how great the show was through your words and your incredible pictures. I’m following the gig from the other side of the world.
    Best wishes from a huge Culture Club and Boy George fan since 1984.
    ¡Muchas gracias! Saludos desde Buenos Aires.

  12. Sandra W. Says:

    Wonderful review of a wonderful night. Really brought tears to my eyes to read it – I’m so happy for George, he really deserves it. Have been a fan since 83 but never had a chance to see Culture Club together – so even though for me it’s always been about George – I really have to say that this was something totally special and amazing and George really was in a fantastic mood indeed. Also appreciated how nicely Mickey treated the fans outside. Only shame was the seating and security staff. A guy came up to us and told us to sit down as we were blocking people’s view. In fact, we were on the first ring of the balcony with the entrance behind us – so there was no one whose view could be blocked. Such stupid nonsense. How could anyone not get up and dance on this special night.

  13. Boy George Fan Says:

    Great review! Loved Boy George thought he sung really well!
    Also loved Brando, they will be huge! Can’t wait to hear their new stuff and album!

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