Culture Club exploded onto the world scene in 1983 like nothing pop music had ever seen. They were the very image of diversity and acceptance in the conservative 1980’s of Thatcher and Reagan, interracial, queer, and bold. They sold tens of millions of albums before imploding spectacularly in 1986. They recorded an album and embarked on a brief reunion tour in the late 1990’s, but remained largely dormant for the last three decades. This year, they’ve regrouped once again, and their reunion tour makes a stop here in Cincinnati at The Backyard at Jack Casino on Saturday night.
In addition to touring, they’ve also spent time in the studio working on new material. “We’re on the road at the moment," said drummer Jon Moss in an interview with CincyMusic.com last month. “We’ll worry about the album later on.” He alluded to some logistical delays, and said “it’s been a bit annoying, but one step at a time--like Alcoholics Anonymous.” Fans should expect to hear a few of the new songs on Saturday night. “We like to play them because they really just groove. Some fans just want to hear the old stuff, but these go down really, really well.”
But there will also be plenty of hits. Their sophomore record Colour By Numbers was one of the biggest albums of the decade, spawning five megahits and securing singer Boy George’s place as a global icon. Moss says it can be difficult at times to reach back and find the same meaning in the old songs. “Playing ‘Karma Chameleon’ again...ugh,” he groans, saying how hard it was back in the band’s heyday to roll through the hits night after night. “But when you go back and play the older songs now, you can actually get inside of the music. Some of the songs I used to hate playing, they’re actually great now.”
Moss is extremely proud of the show they’re crafted, and says that they benefit from people expecting a phoned-in nostalgia act. “We’ve got a fifteen-piece band, we’ve got horns, we’ve got percussion. We had a review from one guy in New York who hates Culture Club, and he gave us the best review we’ve ever had. And it’s because of low expectations. We put on a really great show. It’s a celebration.” He’s excited to look out at the crowd and see a diverse audience, including parents who have come with their now-grown children. “I love playing, doing great gigs, I’ve never really been in a better place.”