As Adam Lambert rises the pop ranks, he joins a long line of musical frontmen who can really show out
RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
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Recently, Adam Lambert sang the praises of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Much of Lambert’s stylings and persona are reminiscent of the late bisexual singer, but when he asked NPR recently where are today’s flamboyant showmen, I was perplexed. If by flamboyant, he means gay, well, then perhaps I can see that. But pop and rock music today is not lacking for outrageousness in male personalities.
Lambert doesn’t have to look too far to see that the musical landscape is filled with exciting onstage personas that can equal Lady Gaga or Katy Perry. Lest he thinks he’s the only one on the radar doing up an extravaganza show, he’d be sorely mistaken. I picked out a few worthwhile singers and performers that should answer Lambert’s question.
Mika — I’m sorry to tell Lambert that Brit pop singer Mika fits the Freddie Mercury prototype like a glove, much more than Lambert does. With bouncy pop that’s also smart, Mika is exciting to watch as he rules his stage and flutters with some crazy vocal gymnastics. To add to that, he can throw down big time on a piano. He can wear the audience out even when he’s doing all the work.
Kele Okereke — The Bloc Party gay frontman woos his audience like a lover. He has that magic that is both hypnotic and thrilling. Okereke drips sex appeal the way Lenny Kravitz used to, only he keeps it approachable enough to not make him look like a douche. Others usually miss that mark.
Brandon Flowers — When Flowers takes the mike during his band’s show, he not only sings, he leads like a conductor. The Killers pop rock drives forward with heavy guitars and drums, but Flowers owns the stage with the slightly off-kilter-ness of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter but makes up for it with squeaky clean good looks and guy-liner.
Justin Timberlake — It’s hard to believe I live in a world where Justin T. is a music veteran. Not only that, he’s become a respectable musician and artist. But first, he was the breakout guy from N*Sync. You could see his potential then that he was going to be big, but when he matured into pop music hotness, he proved that outrageousness and flamboyance isn’t all that’ s needed to be a great showmen. J.T.’s got the moves, the looks and also works his sex appeal to no end.
There are countless others, but Lambert can’t rule out these contemporaries just because he’ll kiss a guy onstage or wear outlandish costumes. Flamboyant showmanship is of varying degree. Glam rock hasn’t yet made its comeback, but Lambert is at least spearheading the movement and in a few years, he’ll be the next veteran that up and comers will cite as an influence.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.