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A textbook night of post-punk and new wave
to wet fans' appetites for the future

The Psychedelic Furs
House of Blues
Chicago, IL
September 14, 2013
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Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

Don't even bother looking at The Psychedelic Furs' discography to see when the last new studio album was recorded. It's been decades, but at least members have been somewhat active apart, including Richard and Tim Butler's offshoot act Love Spit Love and Richard's gradually developing solo career. Nevertheless, since reuniting in 2000, the Furs continue to tour every few years to recall gems from its post-punk/new wave past, which were most recently complied on the hits and deep cuts collection "Playlist: The Very Best Of The Psychedelic Furs" (Sony Legacy).

The fairly full downtown hot spot House of Blues served as an ideal place for this latest trip down memory lane, evoking the days when the Furs ruled the radio next to The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen and Siouxsie & The Banshees. And even though the 90 minute set lacked the new material fans continue to salivate over, these oldies didn't seem even a day stale, if only for the fact that their hypnotic, dance-floor friendly alt-rock stylings have since rubbed off on Interpol, British Sea Power, Longwave and the like.

Butler and the boys didn't waste anytime diving into their London-reared treasure chest, blasting off with "Highwire Days" and keeping the momentum mounting with "Heartbeat" and "The Ghost in You." Now 57, the singer may not look exactly like he did during those days on MTV, but was still undeniably suave while delivering other magnetic favorites like "Here Come Cowboys" and "Love My Way," crossing the swagger of John Lydon (Johnny Rotten) with the sophistication of David Bowie.

Speaking of that video heyday, Butler swirled to the striking rhythms of "Heaven" and continued to serve as the consummate front man during the crowd pleasing "Pretty In Pink," which would've surely made the late great John Hughes proud. Throw in a finale of the less frequently performed brooding rocker "Sleep Comes Down," and the Furs truly lived up to its hits and rarities tour theme, in turn, appeasing casual listeners and keeping repeat attendees curious.

In fact, the night was so thorough in combing through the back catalogue with such a vibrant spirit that it only stoked hopes for the group's recording future all the more. The fact that Butler just wrote and sang on techo star Westbam's single "You Need The Drugs" is certainly a step in the right direction, as is his hinting at the possibility of a new Furs' project on its official website. But even if more retrospective shows are all that's in the cards for the time being, at least the band's "Heartbreak Beat" never sounded better.

Related articles:

Psychedelic Furs / The Fixx / The Alarm - Concert review - Naperville, IL - June 2007
The Psychedelic Furs / Berlin - Concert review - Chicago, IL - March 2004
The Psychedelic Furs - Concert review - Chicago, IL - April 2001
The Go-Go's / the B-52's / The Psychedelic Furs - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - July 2000

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