Gig review: Boy George, Glasgow

As the title of his latest album, This Is What I Do, suggests, there is an assured insouciance about Boy George these days.

Boy George: A subtle, mainly low-key show. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Boy George: A subtle, mainly low-key show. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Boy George - King Tut’s, Glasgow

* * *

For the audience at this packed, intimate club show, this was an exciting opportunity to witness a pop icon up close and personal. For George and his big-ish band, this was a laidback exercise in showing what they’ve got.

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George looked great in his oversized hat and stylish facial fuzz – and he sounded even better. There was a melodramatic lifetime of experience hinted at in his mature torch song tone but he didn’t ever push too hard, instead letting the natural soul seep out over the course of a subtle, mainly low-key show.

The classy dub, reggae and ska numbers in the early part of the set allowed the band, especially the intuitive brass section, to demonstrate their chemistry but there was not much for George to do until the first strong vocal melody of the night arrived in the shape of Everything I Own.

An elegant rendition of Satellite Of Love was dedicated to Lou Reed, who must have been an important figure to the teenage George, as he would have been to the next generation of outsider kids. Later, he paid tribute to another of his icons, Marc Bolan, with his cover of T-Rex’s Get It On. But this was to be the sole rock-out of the evening.

The longtime fans were roused instead with classily recalibrated versions of Culture Club tracks, which harnessed the soul stomp of Church of The Poison Mind, emphasised the bittersweet qualities of Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? and suppressed the chirpy cheesiness of Karma Chameleon to a bearable degree.