Who’s Who at Forest Hills Stadium? 7/22

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If you live in Forest Hills,

chances are good that you’ve been to a concert at the recently reopened Forest Hills Stadium. In 2013, I got the opportunity to see Mumford and Sons, the very first concert back at the stadium in nearly twenty years. I was in the front row and sang my lungs out.

If you’re like me, you try to get to these legendary shows as often as possible. But even if you weren’t fortunate enough to snag tickets to see your favorite band this season, you still might want to know who’s coming to town. This week alone will feature the Arctic Monkeys, Boy George and Culture Club, and The B-52s.

So who’s who at Forest Hills Stadium this summer? Let’s recap.

Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys would be considered indie rock or neo-punk. They are quickly becoming one of the UK’s biggest bands of the new millennium and are currently ranked #201 in the world on Spotify.

Alex Turner and Jamie Cook began their segue into music in 2001 after receiving guitars for Christmas and thus a high school band was formed.

Instead of joining a record label, the band put out their first EP via the internet and rocketed themselves to stardom in 2005. Their first album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” allowed the band to join the ranks of British favorites Oasis and Blur.

Following their instant success, the band topped UK charts after aligning themselves with Domino Records with songs “I Bet You Look Good on the Dance Floor” and ” When the Sun Goes Down”. The Arctic Monkeys debut album proved it’s popularity in the United States as well, as it sold over 300,000 copies.

In 2006 the band was awarded the Mercury Prize, an annual music prize awarded for the best album in the United Kingdom by a British or Irish act. They also have won the title of the Best British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards and Best New Band at the NME awards.

The band continued to maintain their popularity with their 2007 album “Favorite Worst Nightmare” which sold 85,000 copies the day of its release. After headlining at Glastonbury in 2013 the band released “AM” and then went on hiatus.

As of April 2018, the band is back with their latest album “Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino” which has a much softer vibe compared to their previous album. They are sure to have a memorable performance at the Forest Hills Stadium on July 24th!

(Although tickets for this show are sold out, I’ve heard that if you stand on Yellowstone Boulevard you can hear the music fairly clearly. Not like I did that last year with Dispatch and sang “The General” by myself or anything… Just sayin’.)

Boy George and Culture Club

With his soulful voice and provocative fashion sense, Boy George and Culture Club represented all things New Wave. The band amassed seven straight Top Ten hits in the UK and six Top Ten hits in the US.

It was George’s androgynous appearance and biting sarcasm that brought the band serious exposure on the early days of MTV.

Born George O’Dowd, Boy George found himself inspired by the likes of glam rockers, T.Rex and David Bowie. After becoming a star of the London night scene, George established Culture Club in 1981. After landing a contract with Virgin Records in ’82, the band released their songs “White Boy” and “I’m Afraid of Me”. Neither songs made the charts but allowed for enough exposure that British fashion press began to run articles about Boy George.

It was at this point that the band found their footing and released “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” which topped the charts that Fall. Not long after, the band’s debut album “Kissing Be Clever” was number 5 in the UK.

By the Summer of 1983, the band was the most popular pop group in the American and England alike. Their second album, “Colour by Numbers”, sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. “Karma Chameleon” was well loved by fans in both countries. Throughout 1984, the band achieved critical acclaim with songs like “It’s a Miracle” and “Make Me Blind”.

Culture Club disbanded as George was battling a drug addiction in the late ’80s. George began a solo career in 1987 and saw several hits in Europe but struggled to gain favor in the US. In 1992, George’s cover of David Berry’s “The Crying Game” was featured in the Academy Awarded film of the same name.

In 1998, to fans delight, Culture Club reunited. In 2015, Boy George received an Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors for Outstanding Services to British Music.

The B-52s

The B-52s are an American new wave band formed in Athens, Georgia. The band’s name comes from the Southern bouffant style wigs worn by the band’s singers Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson.

The band established their bizarre thrift store appearance in 1976 after a drunken night at a Chinese restaurant where an impromptu jam sesh became so much more.  Drummer and cowbell player, Keith Strickland, along with, poet and lead vocalist Fred Schneider had performed their early shows with Wilson and Pierson with taped guitar accompaniment.

In 1978 the group saw moderate success among the alternative music category in 1978 with the song “Rock Lobster”. The band would then go on to perform at the famous Max’s Kansas City club in New York City. Later performances at CBGB would allow the band a great deal of exposure from New York press.

After flying to the Bahamas, the band produced their self-titled debut album that featured a number of funky, danceable hits, including a reworked version of “Rock Lobster”. In 1981, the band’s following album “Wild Planet” reached the top 20 in the United States and is often lauded as their best album by fans.

With the help of close friend  David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, the group collaborated to expand their musical flavor. However, neither of the artists were pleased with the results as they felt they had lessened the band’s more playful side. Both Byrne and the B-52s walked away from the project but six songs were released under an EP titled “Mesopotamia” in 1982.

While recording “Bouncing Off the Satellites”, Ricky Wilson passed away after suffering from AIDS at age 32. The band was grief-stricken and found it impossible to promote the new album. The group would go into hiatus for the next several years. In 1987 the group released a PSA in the style of The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to promote AIDS research.

In 1989 the band returned with “Cosmic Thing” their most profitable album to date. “Love Shack” one of the B-52s most memorable party songs became an instant favorite among fans and critics alike.

In the 1990’s, the band became the “BC-52s” and recorded the theme song for the live action version of “The Flintstones”. Pierson and Schneider would also go on to sing the theme song of the 1994 Nickelodeon cartoon, “Rocko’s Modern Life”.

In 2015, the B-52s released a digital-only archival album “Live! 8-24-1979”. Currently, they are often the opening band for the Talking Heads.

If you are a rock lobster or just someone who enjoys new wave music, the B-52’s are performing with Boy George and Culture Club on the 28th and tickets are still available here!

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