April 12, 2014
The Psychedelic Furs burst on the scene and achieved its greatest successes during the 1980s. Its biggest success was when "Pretty in Pink" became a worldwide hit after being featured prominently in the John Hughes film of the same name. "Heartbreak Beat," "Heaven," "The Ghost In You," "Love My Way" and "President Gas" also received a great amount of radio airplay.
On one of the first warm Saturday evenings of the spring of 2014 (after a bitterly cold winter), Richard Butler and the Psychedelic Furs blew into Huntington, NY's The Paramount, to fill the mid-sized room with its special brand soulful British post-punk, new wave, art-rock. An eclectic demo of both younger and older fans stood elbow to elbow from the doors in the back right on up to the stage, the lucky early arrivers balancing drinks on the edge of the stage as they staked out their vantage spot. The upstairs seats were filled with both new and hardcore fans, eagerly anticipating the first notes.
Though lead singer Butler has performed the tunes that made up the band's sixteen song set thousands of times during the past thirty-plus years, it is obvious that he still enjoys himself. With his enthusiasm, grand theatrical gestures and moves, pogo dancing, bouncing and twirling behind the microphone, flashy overhead hand-claps and raspy, gravelly, smoky vocals, Butler served as the cruise director on a musical stroll back through the sands of time. The fans responded in kind, worked up into a frenzy of activity just by being in his airspace.
Butler appeared on stage, clad in a black suit, sporting his trademark black glasses with windswept salt and pepper hair. Smiling and looking fit, Butler's energy belied the fact that the rocker is now in his late 50s. Wasting little time, the band got right down to it opening with "Heartbeat" and rolling into "Danger," "The Ghost In You," "Little Miss World" and "Heartbreak Beat." Butler, though not particularly chatty, spent quite a bit of the evening engaging his fans by posing behind the mic and kneeling at the edge of the stage to shake and slap hands with fans up front all night. Behind Butler, the band laid down a fierce sax-driven backbeat layered over soaring melodies.
Butler's energy was infectious. As he danced his was across the stage while singing "Pulse," "Wrong Train," "Love My Way" and "All of this and Nothing" the crowd swayed and bopped to the music. The main set came to a close in grand fashion: an awesome breakneck paced version of "Pretty In Pink" (that was became an audience participation number as the crowd sang along), followed by a reflective, dreamlike version of "Heaven" and finally the Bowie-esque "Mr. Jones."
The encores, though there were only two, were amazing. "President Gas" is such a politically charged song that its message rings as true today (with a gallon of gas creeping its way toward the $4 mark) in 2014 as it did when it was released on 1982's on the Forever Now
album (Columbia Records). Fittingly, the last song of the evening was "India" which is the first song on the band's eponymously titled debut album (Columbia Records , 1979). Photo Credit Christine Connallon
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[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon