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A slice of heaven served up
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Psychedelic Furs / Berlin
House of Blues
Chicago, IL
Mar. 29, 2004

Psychedelic Fur
Psychedelic Furs

Story and Photos By Andy Argyrakis

They may not have had a hit single within the last decade, a new album since 2001's live outing Beautiful Chaos or any high profile disasters or deaths, but England's Psychedelic Furs can still put on one hell of a show. And a sold out one, might I add, packed with very serious faithful who screamed every word to the group's string of singles throughout a non-stop 90 minutes.Berlin Hearing the Furs' music in post-millennial settings was actually much more enjoyable than many acts still lingering from the decade of decadence, many of whom have since lost voices, key members, or their boundaries of taste. Instead, the Richard Butler led outfit was just superb as they were back in the day, demonstrating more consistency than fellow countrymen Duran Duran, cooler hair than A Flock of Seagulls and most certainly better personal relations than The Smiths.

Interestingly enough, twenty-year-old smashes like "Here Come Cowboys," "President Gas" and "Heartbreak Beat" didn't sound dated at all, ringing through with the retro relevance revivalists like Interpol, Stellastarr, and The Rapture only wish they originated. Though "Pretty In Pink" may have been the leader of the John Hughes' movie (starring Molly Ringwald) of the same name, the film's campiness was blown away by the Furs' contemporary blend of bellowing vocals, slashing guitars and sarcastic angst. Other old timers like "Love My Way" and "The Ghost in You" rested in their loungy luster with Butler carousing towards the crowd like a cigarette-puffing hipster. However, it was the groups runaway smash "Heaven" that truly pushed the set over the top, expounding on its original tone shifts and momentum bursts with several backhanded surges of anthemic concentration.

Openers Berlin were also products of the same decade, who've most recently earned an extra boost of notoriety via VH1's Band's Reunited. Though some of there songs were strewn with gimmickry, like the fetish flanked "Sex (I'm Aś)" and the gag me with a spoon Top Gun ballad "Take My Breath Away," the band's remaining material resonated regally. Lead singer Terri Nunn was decked in a sparkly gown from head to toe (a sight that took many male fans' breath away) and her soprano soared amidst the backers' alternative arrangements. Like Blondie or Missing Persons, Berlin's music fell somewhere between slick synth pop and diva fronted dance, most effectively bridged on cuts like "No More Words," an electronia remake of Peter Gabriel's "Big Time" and "The Metro." It was a testimony to the group's ability to expand beyond nostalgic refuse and put aside the petty differences that broke them up the first time around.

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