Boy George is finally making his point about his flamboyantly androgynous looks: they're irrelevant. He's a superb soul singer and the leader of one of the world's most appealing pop bands, and he should be able to wear what he wants.
At Constitution Hall last night, his group--Britain's Culture Club--shrugged off all accusations of trendiness to show the staying power of a talented band with a long future. Boy George and his group unveiled songs from their forthcoming album that fulfilled and then expanded the promise of this year's debut effort. Anchored by a rhythm section that rocked the hall with a tight, joyful soul beat, the band featured not one but two superior singers: Boy George and Helen Terry.
Singing more deeply and more forcefully than he has on record, Boy George never lost his thick tone even on punchy romps like the new single "Church of the Poisoned Mind." His big, impressive voice sustained an open-hearted quality through ballads like "Time" and "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me." Helen Terry, one of the quartet's four guest musicians, provided wild, gospel-flavored improvisations above Boy George's sturdy crooning.
The new songs introduced new influences into the band's previous mix of soul, reggae and new wave. "Karma Chameleon," a potential hit single, had a country-disco feel; "It's a Miracle," another potential hit, featured a Latin-soul feel. The evening's highlight was the inspired give-and-take between Boy George and Terry on the tour de force gospel ballad "Black Money."