Gnarls Barkley + Hercules and Love Affair

Wilbur Theatre, August 6, 2008
By MICHAEL BRODEUR  |  August 12, 2008

0815_garnIN

To the cynic, the scene milling around in front of the sold-out Wilbur — a jarringly diverse gathering of teens, baby-boomers, yuppies, muttering scalpers, and dudes demonstrating every conceivable way to position a ballcap — could merely have been proof of the power of a hit single. Two years later, people just want to hear “Crazy” in person.

The luxuriously lush disco of NYC’s eight-piece Hercules and Love Affair made the wait easier on everybody. Their mythic motif played well with the Greek key meander lining the proscenium, and their Downtown 81 vibe (Kim Ann Foxman’s hair-up-to-there; the high glamor of stunningly leggy, busty, and transgendered vocalist Nomi; a pair of jacked horn players; the whole band donning torn-up “BANJEE” T-shirts) played well with just about everybody. Mingling throwback NYC disco with contemporary house and pop (and doing so without the help of Antony Hegarty’s high-profile trill), the Love Affair moved from era to era as smoothly as they morphed from song to song. By the time they concluded with their own themesong, they’d all but won over the house — a tall order from a potentially obsequious opening act.

Gnarls Barkley (or “Ceeeee-Loooooo!”, as the weirdly obsessed shriekers in the audience might have had it) had less success fusing old and new. Dressed as nerds (a bold step down from their elaborate costumage of yore) this band of seven (including the likeably mum Danger Mouse) flailed around the stage, desperately trying to dovetail ’60s soul pop with something more, let’s say, collegiate, but their uneven songs sounded as out of their element as the members looked. Although “Run” featured hot call-and-response action and “Blind Mary” stood firmly behind its lax hooklessness, Cee-Lo had to lose clothes to stoke enthusiasm — or just play “Crazy” already. And when Gnarls Barkley half-heartedly sprinted through that, the satisfied crowd seemed, well, merely satisfied. Even an optimist would be hard pressed not to see this as proof of the futility of a hit single.

  Topics: Live Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Gnarls Barkley,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY MICHAEL BRODEUR
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   FOLK ACT  |  June 26, 2010
    Vikesh Kapoor
  •   BOSTON PRIDE WEEK: OFF THE MAP  |  June 07, 2010
    We may seem a little cranky, but us local gayfolk just love a parade, and we’re actually heartened by this annual influx of brothers and sisters from every state of New England and every letter of our ever-expanding acronym.  
  •   THE NEW GAY BARS  |  June 02, 2010
    If I may channel the late, great Estelle Getty for a moment: picture it, Provincetown, 2009, a dashing young man with no discernible tan and an iffy T-Mobile signal languishes bored upon the sprawling patio of the Boatslip Resort.
  •   ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI | BEFORE TODAY  |  June 01, 2010
    If the gradual polishing of Ariel Pink’s sound — and it’s not all that much more polished — puts his loyalists at odds with his albums, I count that as good news.
  •   MORE THAN HUMAN  |  May 26, 2010
    It’s hard to talk about Janelle Monáe when your jaw’s fallen off.

 See all articles by: MICHAEL BRODEUR