WATCH: Weird Al Yankovic goes Gaga

Today, the world finally gets to see what all the fuss was about. Weird Al Yankovic had issues with getting his Gaga parody on board with the Lady herself, but it was all just a misunderstanding. You might have heard the song already, but now the video for “Perform this Way” is officially out. And somehow I’m both cracking up and creeped out by it.

—  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