Kenny G gives good sax at the Meyerson Symphony Center

This guy will likely blow you away

In 1990, Kenny G’s “Songbird” crossed over from light jazz fave into adult contemporary titan. People couldn’t get enough of the romantic tune that sent Valentine’s aflutter. He continued his new breakthrough streak with his sixth studio album Breathless which sold 15 million copies and became, to date, the best selling instrumental album of all time. All this means is, don’t sell this guy short.He’s major — even if you pretend he isn’t.

DEETS: Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $45–$115. DallasSymphony.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Show vs. Show

In this installment, we take a look at polar opposites on the music spectrum:  One who rose from the punk rock ranks to big time ’80s radio and video play; the other, a guy who might get mistaken for Weird Al Yankovic but is really a jazz giant.

Give it up for Billy Idol in one corner of the ring. He paved the way for ultra-spiky hair among many middle school students some 30 years ago and gave mainstream pop music a harder edge. His self-titled debut in 1982, after three albums with his band Generation X, put him on the map with the singles “Dancing with Myself” and “Mony Mony.” We’ve been snarling and fist-pumping ever since.

The ’90s weren’t so kind. His Cyberpunk album bombed as did his life. Two drug overdoses in 1994 landed him in rehab. He’s bounced back by playing himself with a wink in The Wedding Singer and with the popular video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas featuring “White Wedding.”

Kenny G is in the opposite corner with his not-so-secret weapon — the sax. In 1990, G’s “Songbird” crossed over from light jazz fave into adult contemporary titan. People couldn’t get enough of the romantic tune that sent Valentine’s aflutter.

He continued his new breakthrough streak with his sixth studio album Breathless which sold 15 million copies and became, to date, the best selling instrumental album of all time.

This is a tough one. Kenny G isn’t the coolest cat, but he will stomp many down with his track record. Idol has become a symbol of a decade, but his hits are way more fun. And he lets us be punk without losing our day jobs. Tough one indeed.

— Rich Lopez

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Billy IdolBilly Idol

Remembered mostly for…
bringing punk into the mainstream with ’80s hits “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell.” Plus the snarl and spiky bleached hair.
Good for the gays?

Good for the gays?
Overall, he’s fairly harmless, but there were rumors “Flesh for Fantasy” was about certain curiosities. Give it a listen.

What to wear?
Leather with an official Billy Idol costume wig. Yes, they exist. A sleeveless T-shirt and armband could get you by.

Nostalgic or still relevant?
More nostalgic than anything. He’s much better as a pop culture icon than a singer desperately hanging on to relevance.

Reason to be there
His last album was 2008’s The Very Best of Billy Idol, so other than a couple of new tracks, it should be all hits, all the time.

Reason to not
Pop culture reference doesn’t mean legend.

Deets
Palladium Ballroom, 2200 N. Lamar St. Aug. 24 at 8:30 p.m. $47. Ticketmaster.com.

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Kenny GKenny G

Remembered mostly for…
turning the world onto the sax with the 1990 monster “Songbird,” often played at white people’s weddings. And his hair.

Good for the gays?
Yeah, well, I think, umm… Light jazz fans worship at the Kenny G altar and with a new album, his acolytes will turn out.

What to wear?
The Ogilvie Home Perm.

Nostalgic or still relevant?
He just released his 13th studio album and still sells big. Despite the cheese and curl, this guy is still huge.

Reason to be there
Kenny G is a bit specific, so fans will be there no matter. For the curious or willing, his sax will show off good acoustics.

Reason to not
Seriously, there is not enough space here.

Deets
Meyerson Symphony Center, 2301 Flora St. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $45–$115. DallasSymphony.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens

Pick a show

This week deals out all kinds of live music. But what’s gay about ’em?

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

THREE OF A KIND Green Day, left, Sheryl Crow, center, and Chromeo are just a few of this week’s concert offerings.

As if dueling Billy Idol and Kenny G concerts weren’t enough — not to mention the residual bloodbath therefrom — this week in music is all over the place. From rock turned Broadway punks to a local lesbian favorite, pretty much everything is covered.

Here is some lowdown on this week’s concert calendar and why might the gays head out to see. At the very least, you can imagine any number of combinations of Show vs. Show and determine which would come out on top.

Sheryl Crow

Crow started as a mere rocker chick with a guitar but over the years transformed into one hot cougar. Her gay appeal, though, is rather lacking. She doesn’t offer much drag inspiration in either song or look, despite being gorgeous and fit. Lance Armstrong isn’t a hunky enough lover for the gays to be overly jealous of and she may have some lesbian appeal, but she’s no Melissa.

She has embraced her cougar hotness, though, and at 48, is not afraid to bust out the microminis and show off her toned legs. Still, music is what she does best.

Despite her strong lineup of hits, Crow’s gay scale is average. QQR (Queer Quotient Rating): 50 out of 100.

Verizon Theatre, 1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie. Aug. 26 at 8 p.m. $38–$78. Ticketmaster.com.

Green Day

Sixteen years ago, the punk rock trio’s CD Dookie took the music world by storm, reminiscent of the brash Beastie Boys a decade earlier. Since then, they’ve kept a strong edge but matured into one of today’s more important bands.

So what could three punksters from Berkeley have in common with the queer community? A lot.

With their breakthrough, they hit the road with queercore band Pansy Division as the opening act. Despite Division’s newfound exposure, not all fans were fond of the gays. Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong took time to defend the band and at some points, even threatened not to go on if people weren’t giving Division due respect.

Green Day did the ultimate queeny step by turning the landmark 2004 album American Idiot into a Broadway musical. The show ended up with Tony nominations and the punks even performed on the 2010 telecast.

Clearly, Green Day has some good gay mojo — and a high QQR: 85.

With AFI. SuperPages.com Center, 1818 First Ave. Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. $20–$85. LiveNation.com.

Chromeo

You might call this electrofunk duo newbies to the music scene, but their 2007 release Fancy Footwork broke the sophomore album curse and put the duo on the music map. Their club-ready sound has been compared to bubbly ’80s pop, most notably Hall and Oates. And yet they make it work. They add a dash of humor to their flow with songs like “Me and My Man” and “Tenderoni.” Their appearance on Darryl Hall’s reality show, Live From Darryl’s House performing “No Can Do” is outstanding.

Not a lotta gay going on, but they’re changing the face of dance music with their electrofunk and remixes of other artists. An average QQR: 65 — but their performance with Hall should win new fans.

With Holy Ghost!, Telephoned. Palladium Ballroom, 1135 S. Lamar. Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. $30. ThePalladiumBallroom.com.

Amy Hanaialii Gilliom & Deborah Vial

Deborah Vial used to grace the local scene singing at Sue Ellen’s, but turned in her cowboy boots for grass skirts by relocating to Hawaii in 2004. She’s never forgotten her Dallas roots, though, and comes back often. This time, she’s bringing a friend.

Vial returns with Amy Hanaialii Gilliom, who has been referred to as “the voice of Hawaii” and has snagged four Grammy nominations during her career. The two have teamed up for the road and Vial is figuring Gilliom will be a hit in Dallas — or at the very least, expand audience ears to the islands of Hawaii.

Vial’s presence pretty much puts this show at a perfect QQR: 100.

House of Blues Cambridge Room, 2200 N. Lamar St. Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. $25. HouseOfBlues.com.

Battle of the Bands: The Dyke Clones and Vent

Sigh — where to begin? Open Door Productions usually books an impressive roster of lesbian musicians and comedians. This time, they offer a “Battle of the Bands” and miss the mark all over the place. Despite the title, only two bands are performing and we’re never sure what they are battling for. An audience, perhaps?

They don’t win any favor with the Dyke Clones write up. “An absolutely funny group of gals who not only lip-sync the words but also finger-sync the instruments. We’ll just describe them as musical drag queens.” Despite Open Door’s enthusiasm, this has about as much musical appeal as the Church of Christ. They are followed up by Vent, who covers the likes of Ani DiFranco and Katy Perry.  If you’re yawning by this point, you’re not alone.

For its support of lesbian talent, Open Door gets a good QQR 100 — but the show itself tanks.

Heart and Soul Coffeehouse, 4615 E. California Parkway, Fort Worth. Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. $7.50. OpenDoorProductionsTX.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 20, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens