Few bands have placed as much emphasis on the visual package as Duran Duran. Their good looks, sense of style and glossy, often provocative videos made them innovators during MTV's heyday, a time when the best clips conjured futuristic worlds, exotic locales, and/or glamorous lifestyles.
The surrealism of David Lynch's film work might not automatically come to mind when we think of DD, but after last night's collaboration between the two --also with appearances by Beth Ditto (on "Notorious"), Gerard Way (on "Planet Earth"), Kelis ( on new track, "The Man Whole Stole A Leopard") and Mark Ronson (who produced the band's latest)-- it's clear anything is possible if the artists involved are open to experimentation.
The online collab, for American Express' "Unstaged" series with Vevo and YouTube, was as wonderfully weird as one might expect. Bringing an 80s band into the future, the technology thrust and social networking promo opps were significant. We were invited to join a "VIP blogger panel" complete with tables above the action at The Mayan (where the show took place). Amid a lineup of laptops and giddy DD fan bloggers, we tweeted, wrote and we watched.
Read on for our perspective on Lynch's video presentation and a little report from the after-bash where the band partied and posed for pics with revelers including Marilyn Manson (above pic).
Though Lynch's stream was intriguing, it ultimately became difficult to take our eyes away from the stage. The band was that good. Simon Lebon's vocals are still as distinctively luscious as ever and the band (only one missing from the original line-up is Andy Taylor) have preserved their gift for atmospheric, dancey rock stylings--as well as their good looks. Rhodes can still pull off guyliner, too!Forget about the vibrant whimsy of the "Rio" and "Hungry Like the Wolf," clips. The band's most seductive hits, took on a dark, eerie and at times Dali-esque like quality in Lynch's hands, with visuals including smokey clouds, clock faces, hammer and nails, floating puppet heads and painted faces (fans in the crowd were offered free face makeup in the lobby) imposed over the concert footage, mostly in black and white. Ronson's production on the band's latest, All You Need is Now, is noticeably reverent to the band's past sound and style (the title track in particular sounds like their early material). Longtime fans are likely to prefer it to some of the band's more recent stuff. New cuts fit seamlessly into the set. Though most watching from home on their computers seemed to be digging the music, some were put off by Lynch's embellishments. On the DuranDuran VEVO channel, some fans said they were "annoying," "migraine-inducing" and even that they "ruined" the show.
We don't agree. The camera options on the VEVO site and extra visuals made for multi-faceted entertainment. The band sure seemed happy with it. They were all smiles and laughs when they joined the after-party downstairs, posing for pics with fans and friends such as Manson ("he's our newest member," joked Rhodes) and Ronson (looking spiffy in a Prada suit). Kelis -wearing a belt that said "FUN" and a gold nose chain- had a girl posse that included Mark's sis Samantha Ronson and some mutual Nightranger galpals. All were headed to Chateau Marmont for more post-show face time.
Read Lynch's thoughts on the project here.