Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Psychedelic Furs w/ Lemonheads and The Chevin @ The Howard Theatre — 10/22/12

Brothers Richard and Tim Butler have such a strong love of performance that it’s not hard to see why they keep touring the Psychedelic Furs despite the band’s last album dropping in 1991.

To be fair, the Psychedelic Furs went through an intensively creative period in the first half of the ’80s, putting out timeless post-punk gems like “Love My Way,” “Heaven” and of course “Pretty in Pink.” When the Furs tour, they hit those highlights as well as “Heartbreak Beat” and “Highwire Days” naturally. Richard Butler, theatric and emotive, sings with his whole body, literally walking the audience through the songs on occasion. Bass player Tim Butler, silent in shades, stands behind his famously emotive brother, looking like the muscle in the room suggesting, “Yeah, you better listen to what he said.”

And what Richard says, or sings rather, is a well-loved catalog of songs about heartache and cynicism all delivered softly, lyrically and passionately. The Furs have a new song, “Little Miss World,” which fits in smartly with their better-known older songs. My personal favorite “All of This and Nothing” gave us a sharp saxophone solo from Mars Williams, who brilliantly solves the challenge of being in a six member group by taking a break from the stage when he’s not needed there. But the band and singer come together very well and Butler’s message to an ex-lover, “you didn’t leave me anything that I can understand,” always hits me in the gut. The Furs still sound great live and they perform well, easily justifying their longevity.

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Hot Ticket: Psychedelic Furs @ The Howard Theatre, 10/22/12

Photo courtesy of Man Alive!
Psychedelic Furs
courtesy of Man Alive!

The Psychedelic Furs have not put out a new album since 1991’s World Outside.

That has not stopped the English post-punk group from touring the United States non-stop since the year 2000. Indeed, they have been through the Washington, DC, metro area several times in the last year or so, playing The State Theater in Falls Church, Va., and the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Md. Now they make their first trip to the newly renovated Howard Theatre tonight, performing perennial favorites such as “Love My Way,” “Pretty in Pink” and “President Gas.”

Opening for the Furs are The Lemonheads, the Boston post-grunge rockers known for goofy drug songs. The pairing of The Lemonheads and the Psychedelic Furs may appear to have little rhyme and reason at first glance, but Lemonheads’ bass player Juliana Hatfield long has been an admirer of new wave-tinged 80s rock groups like the Furs and even sang a duet with lead singer Richard Butler in the past several years — so perhaps the genesis of the pairing occurred with her. Unfortunately, Hatfield dropped out of the tour after initially planning to participate.

Still, the Psychedelic Furs have a well-earned reputation for being one of the most engaging live bands ever to tour, which has helped them sustain the band quite easily in the past decade. Tickets are $30 plus fees. See you there!

Psychedelic Furs w/ The Lemonheads and The Chevin
Tonight! Monday, Oct. 22
doors 6pm; show 8pm
The Howard Theatre
All ages