I was going to call this piece, The Psychedelic Furs brought Cougars to The Midland, but I’ll get more into that later. I had originally planned on attending this show to see the opening band, She Wants Revenge play. I have been a fan for a while now and wanted to see them play a full set after seeing a sneak peek in Austin before. However, I had no idea what I was in for when it came to the prowess and skill that was The Psychedelic Furs.
She Wants Revenge opened to a less than full theatre with a very tame, and lifeless crowd. There seemed to be about three true fans of the band in presence, maybe this had something to do with the show being on a Monday. I never get why people think it’s against some rule to go out and see a show on a week night, you would probably stay up just as late watching a marathon of The Biggest Loser, so what’s the diff? Ah well, it could have been that, or just the fact that most of the crowd was attending to The Psychedelic Furs and they are no spring chickens anymore, which explained the early start time for the show at 8pm. Either way, the band came out with hope in their eyes that this would be a good time for everyone and put on an easy going show. They opened with “Disconnect”, a fun song to set the mood of the night. Most of their songs could go well into the melody before needing lyrics due to the post punk alternative notes from Adam Bravin on keyboards, drum machine and alternating to bass guitar. However, when Justin Warfield comes in on vocals, it only brings harmony and purpose to the number and starts to give meaning to each song. If you were just casually listening to the sounds of SWR, you would think by the dark wave sounds they use plus the use of Justin’s somber voice, that this would be a good band to listen to when you are blue; that the lyrics must only say very depressing things to add to your dreary day, but in fact, you would be wrong. There are actually some very happy tones to the lyrics when just read aloud. I have heard such things as sunshine, kisses, and a lot of talk about love. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of songs purely about wanting a girl that may be emotionally unavailable, or being upset from a love not working out, but isn’t that what music is really for?
The lyrics are what really strike a chord with the teen-angst crowd, but the music, itself, can be appreciated by people of all ages. In fact, they were a perfect fit, musically, with The Psychedelic Furs. DJ Adam even mentioned that it was an honor to be touring with one of their favorite bands, and it shows in their music.
I caught up with Adam before the show and chatted a bit about where the band is musically, and he told me that they hope to have their new album out in January on their new label. That news was so new that he couldn’t even tell me what company they will be working with, but he felt very confident that they will be headlining a tour after their new album drops. I enjoyed their set and would recommend that anyone give them a listen. Check out their set list below.
Between the tear down and set up of equipment, the crowd meandered into place and started to softly fill the theatre. Luckily, there was still plenty of elbow room, because those would be flying. I really had no idea what to expect with The Psychedelic Furs. I had heard some of their songs, you might remember that John Hughes liked their “Pretty In Pink” song so much, he decided to name his movie after it, as well as use the song in the film. The band has been around since 1980 and believe me when I say, they haven’t lost a beat.
Although they might have gained a wrinkle or two since the last time they toured, the fans didn’t seem to mind. This is where my alternate title comes in, because tonight the cougars were out in full force. That’s not a bad thing at all, there were plenty of older men too, but they don’t have clever names. I don’t mind a show with older people, you certainly don’t have to worry about being sweated on by a blubbery fellow that has to stand so close, you swear you can feel his food digesting next to you. This is also a much nicer generation of people, I could easily move through the crowd with no one claiming a spot as their territory.
The Furs opened with “Love My Way” and instantly the crowd was grinning from ear to ear and extending their hands in hopes of grabbing the hand of lead singer, Richard Butler. He was eager to give back to the fans that had supported him through all these years and with a sincere smile of appreciation, frequently grabbed hands and shook them. Richard came out in a three piece suit with a black velvet jacket and styling loafers. The man was here to give a show and he did not disappoint. From the start of the set to the very last song, he gave his all and jumped and twirled like he was sixteen and couldn’t believe he got to do this for a living. It only helped to keep the crowd pumped through their almost two hour set.
Tim Butler, on bass guitar and brother to Richard moved around stage frequently and popped his head over the crowd singing right along with the fans. He had the signature sunglasses going with a nice black outfit and jacket, but he seemed to really be enjoying himself as well. Another standout performance of the night came from Mars Williams on saxophone. It’s not often anymore that you can hear a live show with saxophone. I’m afraid it will be a lost talent one day in the future. With other favorites like, “Sister Europe” and “Pretty In Pink” the crowd was not forgotten.
Like I said earlier, I was more of a casual listener, but after seeing them perform “President Gas” and watching Richard march around on stage and stand and face the crowd with a comical Nazi salute, I knew I owed it to myself to give them a closer listen; which is what I will be doing now. If The Psychedelic Furs are coming to your town on this latest tour, you owe it to yourself to venture out, even on a Monday and see this spectacular show. Check out their set list from tonight.
She Wants Revenge Set List:Disconnect Red Flags These Things True Romance Suck It Up Maybe She’s Right This Is The End Some Girls Kiss Me Out Of Control Tear You Apart
The Psychedelic Furs Set List:Love My Way Believe Heartbeat Ghost In You Like A Stranger It Goes On President Gas In My Head Sister Europe She Is Mine Heaven All Of This And Nothing Pretty In Pink 3 Song Encore
I give The Furs‘ show 4.5 “Cougars” out of 5
by Angela Davis
photos by Angela Davis