It’s been twenty plus years since I’ve seen The Psychedelic Furs live and I always wonder when I revisit music from the past if the new live show will live up to the memory or if it’s better left to a rainy day with my vinyl collection. The Psychedelic Furs definitely survived the memory, bringing a solid set of nineteen hits to the Minneapolis club show at First Avenue on September 10th. I had missed the 2012 tour and was so glad I caught them this time around. It was the kind of show where you know every song and every lyric, even when you haven’t heard it in years.
Artwork from the Psychedelic Furs 1984 album Mirror Moves
Brothers Richard Butler (lead vocals) and Tim Butler (bass), the only two original members of the band, have been at it for a long time. The story goes that Richard talked Tim into making a band during the 70s punk scene, initially practicing in their mom’s front room. They’ve been working together in some form ever since. The two were also founding members of the band Love Spit Love after the Furs disbanded in the early 90s.
Front man Richard Butler is one of those lucky bastards who has aged exceedingly well. He didn’t say much other than a quick hello, but he was full of energy and seemed to be really enjoying himself. He comes off as a bit nerdy and shy, but in an effectual and charming way. I don’t know that I had noticed that before.
Psychedelic Furs at First Avenue in Minneapolis on September 10th, 2013. Photo by RealityTC.
The Butler brothers were backed by a great group of musicians—including Mars Williams (The Waitresses) on Saxophone, Amanda Kramer (Information Society) on Keyboards, Rich Good on guitar and vocals and Paul Garisto on Drums. Williams’ saxophone really brought the heart of the Furs sound to life and his cool-guy personality was a great compliment to Richard’s quirkiness on stage. Rich held up the rhythmic guitar leads well and Tim and Paul kept the bottom end rocking. Before the Furs took the stage, The Technicolors, a band from Phoenix, opened with a solid rock set and a pretty damn impressive collection of guitars.
The first three Furs songs, High Wire Days, Heartbeat and The Ghost In You set the tone. There would be no saving the big hits for later in the night—it was one chart topper after another. It was also awesome to hear some of their earlier songs like Soap Commercial, which culminates everything dark new wave had to offer in 1980 and Pulse, which showcases the beat and vibe that other bands like Romeo Void also popularized in the early 80s. The only song I really wanted to hear that they didn’t play was President Gas as I’ve always enjoyed the political undertones of their music, but all in all it was a great set and a satisfying show.
There are just a few more tour dates left in California, so check them out if you’re in the area. There are rumors about a new album, so maybe they’ll be back next year!
See you next Monday, when I’ll be reviewing the Savages album and live show!
1. High Wire Days [Mirror Moves 1984]
2. Heartbeat [Mirror Moves 1984]
3. The Ghost In You [Mirror Moves 1984]
4. Wedding Song [The Psychedelic Furs 1980]
5. Heartbreak Beat [Midnight to Midnight 1987]
6. Soap Commercial [The Psychedelic Furs 1980]
7. Little Miss World [new song]
8. Here Come Cowboys [Mirror Moves 1984]
9. Pulse [The Psychedelic Furs 1980]
10. No Easy Street [Forever Now 1982]
11. Danger [Forever Now 1982]
12. All of This and Nothing [All of This and Nothing 1988]
13. Love My Way [Forever Now 1982]
14. Mr. Jones [Talk Talk Talk 1981]
15. Wrong Train [Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live 2000 DVD]
16. Heaven [Mirror Moves 1984]
18. Pretty In Pink [Talk Talk Talk 1981]
19. Sleep Comes Down [Forever Now 1982]