Music » Livewire

Duran Duran

Thursday, November 13, at the Agora Theatre.

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People call Duran Duran many things -- decadent pretty boys, ridiculous new romantics, washed-up has-beens -- but often overlooked is how their sense of savvy always superseded their savoir-faire. The fab five rejuvenated disco's slick beats with sleek Roxy Music- and Bowie-modeled art funk that made sophisticated rock palatable to teenyboppers. They also took advantage of New Wave's image obsession by exploiting their feathered hair and yacht-tanned bodies in such video staples as "Rio," "Hungry Like the Wolf," and "Girls on Film."

Striking while the hair spray was hot, the band churned out increasingly bizarre but catchy synth frippery in the mid-1980s (U.S. No. 1's "The Reflex," "Wild Boys") before backsliding into lameness until 1993's "Ordinary World," an ideal maturation geared toward the Durannie demographic, who had their first sex dreams about hunky bassist John Taylor a decade earlier. Their faces might be saggier and locks not quite as luscious, but DD's current reunion tour capitalizes on the fact that all five original members are together for the first time since 1985, reliving their glory days and performing new songs such as "Virus," a harmony-laden bite of skronking soul.

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