Live Review: Culture Club, Kids In The Kitchen

9 June 2016 | 12:10 pm | Frankie Mann

"George's breathtaking and powerful voice captivated the audience."

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HBF Stadium was surprisingly full when Australian new wave band Kids In The Kitchen took to the stage.

The four-piece proved you don't have to release new music to have fans, with the crowd passionately singing along to songs from their album, Shine, released in 1985. Jangly guitars and a pulsating electric drum buzzed around the room, as their debut single Change In Mood had fans dancing in the aisles. Sporting sunglasses and a leather jacket, singer Scott Carne told stories about the '80s, the history of their songs, and how much his kids hate his music. Belting out some impressive notes, Carne proved you're never too old to rock out, even if he did feel like he needed to sit down halfway through.

A video montage of interviews, performances and snippets of Culture Club's songs signalled the legendary band were about to come out; their first full Australian tour in 16 years. The massive ensemble ripped straight into Church Of The Poison Mind, a groovy number with an appropriate gospel touch, thanks mostly to the three incredible back-up singers. The accompanying video clips played in the background for older tracks like I'll Tumble 4 Ya and Time (Clock Of The Heart), and as the original line-up had returned for the world tour it was amazing to see how much they had changed. Despite toning down the wacky hairstyles and makeup, singer Boy George was still delightfully flamboyant, switching between three matching suit and hat outfits during the whopping two-hour set.

Although Culture Club have usually been pocketed as a new wave, pop band, they proved how versatile their music is, playing everything from funk to soul to reggae. Even their latest singles, like More Than Silence, showed a new direction, trading an electronic synthesiser for a smattering of trumpets and saxophones. In between songs George took the time to interact with the crowd, posing for photos and cracking crude jokes. George was oozing nothing but positive vibes, complimenting girls and encouraging everyone to enjoy the show how they want to — whether they sit, dance or look through their phone.

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The energy in the stadium did die down as the band travelled through some of their lesser-known, slower songs, with some people deciding to leave. But George's breathtaking and powerful voice captivated the audience, with beautiful keyboard and guitar solos from Roy Hay receiving screams of support. Saving their most popular songs till the end, Culture Club left the stage after Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, only to return to play Karma Chameleon. Surprisingly, the band decided to finish their set on two covers, T Rex's Get It On and David Bowie's Starman. An incredibly tight and polished set, it was clear Culture Club were more than ready to take on their world tour.