The Butler brothers are back with their '80s pop band Psychedelic Furs and they are performing many dates throughout North America. It was clear that this was a fun, nostalgic show, as they offered no new songs, but rather their entire catalogue of past hits, including "Pretty In Pink," "Heartbreak Beat," "The Ghost In You," and "Heaven."
Lead vocalist Richard Butler looked comfortable onstage, offering high fives to the patrons up front at every opportunity. He has lost nothing vocally, sounding exactly like he did when the Furs broke onto the music scene over 30 years ago.
The show was a very no-nonsense affair, as Butler offered no banter that's common with concerts, but rather a simple 'thank you' after each song. The band played their hits in rapid fire succession and were done in just under 90 minutes. I appreciated the fact that there was no pretense with the show. The fans who showed up wanted to hear the hits and that's exactly what the Psychedelic Furs delivered.
Along with Richard and Tim Butler is an excellent ensemble of musicians. I was quite impressed with Mars Williams on the saxophone. His high energy certainly helped fuel the enthusiasm the band had onstage. Rich Good (guitar), Amanda Kramer (keyboards) and Paul Garisto (drums) rounded out a tight ensemble of musicians. It was clear that the six of them were comfortable with each other onstage.
And while I don't mean this as an insult, it seems clear that Richard Butler not only accepts, but embraces the schmaltz that is a lot of '80s music, especially the Psychedelic Furs. I could tell this with his delivery of the songs onstage. It was certainly entertaining to watch.
Austin, Texas outfit My Jerusalem is the opening act for the tour. Lead singer Jeff Klein sounds like a hybrid between Screaming Trees front man Mark Lanegan and Sisters Of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch, two of my favorite bands from days past, which made it an enjoyable experience for me. This high energy band is an excellent match for the Psychedelic Furs and they should benefit greatly from the nationwide tour. I just wished that the music was mixed a little more efficiently. The bass was thumping too much and after a while it became annoying. Still, this is an up-and-coming band that people should watch.
I'm not terribly sure if the world has been clamoring for a Psychedelic Furs reunion. However, I do know that the people who saw the show enjoyed it. Richard Butler and his band continue to perform live music. All of this is good enough for me.
The Psychedelic Furs performed at Hard Rock Live on the Las Vegas Strip, 3771 Las Vegas Boulevard South. For tickets or information about upcoming shows, call 702-733-7625 or visit www.hardrock.com/live/locations/lasvegas/. For more information on the Psychedelic Furs, visit www.thepsychedelicfurs.com.