Culture club

Boy George and Culture Club’s set cut short at ACL Fest for going over time, but fans got what they came for

The British rockers have treated fans to hits like “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon”, as well as several covers.

AUSTIN, Texas — In the scorching Texas heat, Boy George took to the stage with cultural club at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Saturday afternoon in blue plaid pants, a top hat and a jacket – because fashion.

“Today has a little gay theme because I’m here and Lil Nas is here and P!nk is kinda gay,” he told the crowd on the Honda Stage. “I’m an OG – an original gay.”

Age is not a factor for British rockers, many of whom are now well into their 60s. There was no shortage of shimmering leather tops, dresses and pants. And Boy George has no problem hitting the notes with a loud voice.

After the set kicked off, they launched into a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”, which Boy George said they would do in the style of an “old rave song”. While many days of fan madness have long passed, it was a well-known hit that had the crowd buzzing.

From rave to groovy sax solos, the band played their 1983 hit “It’s a Miracle” back to back with “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya.”

Then came the time for reggae.

Boy George introduced “Everything I Own”, an original song by American soft rock band Bread, recounting how he first heard the reggae version of it by Jamaican artist Ken Boothe.

White British bands making reggae music in the 80s were arguably one of the cringiest musical trends of the decade. Culture Club did. Eric Clapton did. The Police released a whole reggae album.

But a reggae beat is of course behind one of the band’s most famous hits, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, which Culture Club played alongside great acclaim.

Then, more reggae, with “Eyeliner Voodoo” by Boy George.

As the group finished a cover of T. Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get It on)”, the clock approached 5:15 p.m., their designated end time. They had yet to play their biggest hit, “Karma Chameleon,” the closest obvious. Still, they started playing it, as festival-goers waited for the act on the adjacent Miller Lite stage, Sofi Tukker, to start a 5:15 p.m. set.

Festival schedules like ACL are notoriously rigid. Last year, the festival apologized to Phoebe Bridgers after her set was cut for running overtime.

And so, around 5:17 p.m., three quarters into the run of “Karma Chameleon,” Culture Club’s sound was muted – though the artists and fans didn’t seem too upset and left the band with a final cheer.

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