Psychedelic Furs Setlist|
30+ years on, the frontman of legendary alt-rock group The Psychedelic Furs smiled and laughed as he twirled, crouched, and led his band through a joyous 90 min. set in First Avenue’s Mainroom Tuesday night. That obvious affection for what he does is infectious and enhances the overall appeal of seeing any act live; the Furs also no doubt helped by a healthy handful of time-honored radio classics that so many in the audience knew every word to.
The evening began with a tight 40 min. set from Phoenix-based The Technicolors, in support of their latest release, Listener (Elevation/Tallest Man Records). The four-piece (Brennan Smiley- singer, Mikey Fanizza- guitar Mike “Nico” Nicolette- bass, and Kevin Prociw- drums) blend the nostalgia of yesteryear’s classic guitar riff-rock, with a dash of modern UK mod-pop, in making a sound all their own. Much like a Lenny Kravitz, they clearly wear their influences on their sleeve, but are also positioned to breakthrough with this very palatable mix of past and present. From the punch of singles, ‘Sweet Time’ and ‘Again’, to their live staple of covering Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, which shakes off the Roy Orbison influence and brings a needed freshness to the song, The Technicolors are already working on new material and will hopefully return to headline a club date of their own in the new year.
After a brief intermission, The Psychedelic Furs took the stage, blasting out of the gate with ‘Highwire Days’, Butler’s distinctive cockney voice resonating as he mimed balancing on a wire, eyeglasses and black suit giving him an appearance similar to actor Gary Oldman, but wearing his age well. With no relent, the band then went into hits ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Love My Way’ which got the crowd on their side immediately, though Butler needed these first couple songs to find his vocal groove and ramp up what seemed like a slightly slower tempo’d start.
The London band, anchored by singer Butler and his bassist brother Tim, also features the longtime lineup of Paul Garisto, Rich Good, Amanda Kramer (she the ex-keyboardist of Minneapolis-born 80s band Information Society), and secret weapon on saxophone, Mars Williams, who shone repeatedly on solos throughout the night.
The brief two-song encore, started strong with ‘Pretty in Pink’, the stage appropriately bathed in pink light while Williams wailed in tandem on his sax. The crowd, somewhat older, responded strongest to it, both for its pop crafted perfection as well as its identifiable connection to the John Hughes ‘80s movie of the same name. Ending the night with ‘Sleep Comes Down’ from 1982’s ‘Forever Now’ seemed a very appropriate set closer, though Butler (and the crowd) seemed like they could easily have carried on all night.
As they had also proven on recent previous First Avenue co-headlining appearances with Tom Tom Club and Lemonheads, the Psychedelic Furs showed yet again that passionate energy and solid songs of a band over thirty years old, can still provide an enthusiastic thrill to see them doing a job they clearly still all love.
The Psychedelic Furs at First Avenue, Minneapolis (09/10/13)