Psychedelic Furs: The Dome, Brighton.
If you sit and talk to many of the alternative rock artists dominating today’s music, you’ll find that many of them pay homage to the The Psychedelic Furs. Led by front man and songwriter Richard Butler, the Furs won over fans and critics alike by combining poetic lyrics, innovative rhythms and melodies driven by an aggressive, punk desperation. Through it all, the band scored major hits with “Love My Way,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Heaven,” “The Ghost In You,” and “Heartbreak Beat” in all releasing over seven studio albums and spawning several compilations, a boxed set, and a live concert DVD.
Richard Butler (vocals)
Tim Butler: bass
The Psychedelic Furs came together in England’s emerging punk scene in 1977 initially consisting of Richard Butler (vocals), Tim Butler (bass guitar), Paul Wilson (drums), Duncan Kilburn (saxophone), and Roger Morris (guitars). By 1979, this line up had expanded to a sextet with Vince Ely replacing Wilson on drums and John Ashton being added on guitar.
I think the line up has stayed constant since the last time I saw these guys so here they are:
Richard Butler: vocals
Tim Butler: bass
Paul Garisto: drums
Rich Good: guitar
Amanda Kramer: keyboard
Mars Williams: sax
I was truly smitten when I saw these guys at Concorde 2 at the tail end of 2017. Since then I have managed to replace some vinyl and locate an original release of Pretty In Pink. Its taken some time, but now looks as if most of the back catalogue has been reprinted on Vinyl.
The backing track music, sorry dear reader I am unable to name that for you, finished as the house lights dimmed. The sold out venue went quiet and then erupted as the band took to the stage. First on the menu was Dumb Waiters. Richard was clearly having sound issues but he carried on. To be honest we probably wouldn’t have even noticed until he told us.
Another track from Talk Talk Talk was up in the guise of Mr Jones. So good to hear these songs live. The Furs sound so good live these days surely a live recording of a gig would do well? The third song in was Love My Way, this is a great set ender but tonight it was in there early. The Furs have real confidence in their sound, songs and what they do. Love My Way shone the way for what was yet to come. This was going to be one helluva an epic set. The furs had wet the appetites alright and now the band were in full stride, they looked happier as the tech issues were finally settled.
I have to give a shout to the saxophone player, Mars Williams, now did he play that sax? Oh yes! It was more akin to watching a lead guitarist – but with a Sax or Clarinet, as he just powered through every song that came his way, which was most of them. Singer, Richard Butler, his voice was as clear and those vocal tones and range are just as powerful as I remembered.
Old favourite followed old favourite including The Ghost in You, Like A Stranger, and Sister Europe. The songs individually welcomed for the classics they are. Pretty in Pink, which was their biggest hit single release which was re-recorded for the film of the same name and reached No 18 in the charts in 1986. Tonight it sounded so fresh. A true delight that gave me goosebumps to hear it live again. The Dome crowd loved it also, arms raised and much singing ensued for that one.
Included in the set was The Boy That Invented Rock & Roll. This is a brand new song we were told and may feature on a possible new album maybe pencilled in for a 2020 release.The set was as smooth as silk, it flowed beautifully and the end was near as the magnificent Heartbreak Beat concluded proceedings. A huge cheer as the furs came back for an encore, but what an encore, the song was India.
The latest version of The Furs just look and sound fabulous. They present a faultless six band member line up creating a swelling wave of sound all topped off with the instantly recognisible vocals and sound of Richard. The guys are masters of what they do. When, and if the Furs come back to play, just make sure to get your tickets early, because The Psychedelic Furs are one of the hottest shows in town and you really do not want to miss these guys.
The Psychedelic Furs are on the WWW
The Wendy James Band
Yes dear reader, you read that right. Wendy James, the vocalist from Transvision Vamp. I never saw those guys live whilst the band enjoyed chart success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with their pop/punk sound. Transvision Vamp albums are being released again on vinyl. Wendy James is back, with a new band and a new album. I was looking forward to this.
Tonight saw The Wendy James Band as double headline with the Furs. At the front Wendy James leads The Wendy James Band through a 30 minute set. It included some new material, recent material and a few Transvision Vamp songs thrown into the mix. And what a mix!. Tell That Girl To Shut Up opened up their set of the night, a song familiar to my ears from its appearance in the “top 40” back in ’88, and from the aforementioned Transvision Vamp years. You’re So Great – from the album The Price of the Ticket – the one with the well known cover, and You’re A Good Man, Sister from the album Racine 2 representing some earlier material. Wendy James has been busy since those Tranvision Vamp days.
Speaking of Transvision Vamp up next was I Want Your Love. Now the floor was partly full and as folk outside heard this one start up it was great to see the floor suddenly fill up. I note that early Tranvision Vamp material has been issued on vinyl and a rather tasty box set has been released.
It was great to hear Wendy James and that wonderful accent she has. It is still there even though she has been spending lots of time in the USA. We had a couple of new songs in there, one was a bit of a stomper, both songs were both pretty damn good and dear reader it might be worth checking out the new album when it drops. Perilous Beauty was in there from the rather tasty soon to drop Queen High Straight album along side the brilliant The Impression Of Normalcy The set time was approaching its end sadly – where did that time go?
To finish the set and presented to the nicely warmed up crowd in the Brighton Dome was a storming laid bare and stripped back version of the original record. The huuuuuge hit Baby I Don’t Care ended a warmly received and enjoyed set. They raised the roof with this allowing us to sing and fist pump the air. Brilliant fun and what a truly glorious way to end. After the show Wendy did mention she hopes to return to Brighton with the band. I for one cant wait. Watch this space.
Wendy James can be found here.
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