Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Psychedelic Furs Play Maxwell's - Still Rocking After All These Years

The Psychedelic Furs played at Maxwell's in Hoboken Sunday night, and if you had closed your eyes you might have thought you were back in the band's heyday in the 1980s. Best known for their hit "Pretty in Pink," which was used in (and whose title helped inspire) the 1986 John Hughes teen movie of the same name, the Furs achieved good critical notices and worldwide chart success with its post-punk/new wave sound, poetic (and sometimes scathing) lyrics, and catchy pop hooks.

Rich Good (left) and Richard Butler at Maxwell's Sunday.

On Sunday the band played the second of its two sold-out performances at Maxwell's, starting off with "Into You Like a Train" from 1981's "Talk Talk Talk." The audience was enthusiastic and most of it seemed familiar with the band's songs. But no one was more enthusiastic than Furs frontman Richard Butler. He was animated throughout the entire one hour, 15-minute set, pogoing between songs, gesturing to fit each song's lyrics, smiling broadly, and even high-fiving fans in front of the stage.

Richard Butler.

I never saw the Furs at the height of their success, so I don't know if Butler was always like this on stage. Maybe he had too much coffee or Red Bull before the gig, but it's just as likely he loves performing and was particularly jazzed to have so many people remembering the Furs and their songs (and selling out concert dates) all these years later.

Richard and Tim Butler.

Butler was in fine voice, and the band sounded great. The current lineup includes original member Tim Butler (Richard's brother) on bass and longtime members Mars Williams (saxophone) and Paul Garisto (drums). Also in the band are Rich Good on guitar and Amanda Kramer on keyboards.  

Although the set was 75 minutes and didn't include an encore, the Furs played pretty much nonstop for that whole time. They presented a good mix of songs from their albums, including "Pretty in Pink," Love My Way," "President Gas," Heartbreak Beat," and "Imitation of Christ."

And fans of the band will be glad to know that, according to the band's website, a new album is "definitely in the cards," although there's no time frame given.

Tim Butler.

The Psychedelic Furs are continuing their tour with dates in the Northeast and Midwest, after playing another gig in NJ tomorrow at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood (tickets). Among other places, they'll be playing a gig in Pittsburgh put on by The Andy Warhol Museum.

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