Psychedelic Furs – Bristol – September 2017

Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs Adopts a Typically Theatrical Pose Before an Adoring Crowd at Bristol 02 in September 2017.

The Psychedelic Furs have long since decamped to the US and left behind a cynical UK media who have never grasped either their attitude or post-punk sound. When I was a teenager, I didn’t know anyone who would give the Furs a second glance and yet I always loved them. From the roaring power of the first self-tiled album through to the shimmering modernity of ‘Mirror Moves’, Richard Butler’s gravelesque vocals were as distinctive and unique as any other frontman in vogue at the time. And so the years have passed and the Furs’ stock has risen slowly but surely, and no wonder.

What a show. A brilliant set including a back-catalogue of classics including Heaven, Pretty in Pink, The Ghost in You and India was flawlessly presented with Butler orchestrating events as if a conductor. With more than a passing resemblance to a younger Bill Nighy, Butler is theatrical in the extreme as he uses every inch of the stage to visually extoll the emotions of his every lyric. The rest of the band dance in his shadows, but this is far more than a one man show.

As ever, Mars William’s command of the saxophone adds a different dimension to the band, whilst Tim Butler weaves intricate bass lines around which the drum patterns hold it all together. Restrained synths from Amanda Kramer and the intricate guitar work of the exceptional Richard Good create layered tapestries of beautiful sound for which the Furs are famed. However, the highlight of the evening was a breathtaking rendition of ‘Heartbreak Beat’ which will be forever be my favourite Furs’ track. Truly outstanding. Tours to the UK are relatively rare these days so miss them at your peril…