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Review: Psychedelic Furs play memorable show at Egg

Saturday, June 2, 2012
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— All too often, harder rock shows in the Hart Theatre at The Egg end up being stoic, stuffy affairs.

Maybe it’s the comfortable seats and ushers, or the fact that the venue is near the state capitol building, but often it seems as if both band and audience are holding back.

Not so with the Psychedelic Furs, who turned in a vicious, full-throttle performance where the give and take between musicians and audience drove the show into the stratosphere. The crowd was small, barely filling half the venue, but their enthusiastic dancing was a welcome sight to the Furs’ amped-up fury, creating one of the more memorable rock shows to pass through the venue in some time. For an hour and a half, the band rocked the audience, and by the end of the encore, no one was seated.

From the opening guitar chords of “Into You Like a Train,” it was clear that frontman Richard Butler and the rest of the band — his bassist brother Tim, guitarist Rich Good, saxophonist Mars Williams, keyboardist Amanda Dramer and drummer Paul Garisto — meant business. The jackhammer beats, delivered with intense precision by Garisto and pounded into the floor by Tim’s pulsating grooves, enticed the crowd to get out of their seats — and by the third number, an energetic run on “Pretty in Pink,” many had done just that.

Related story

For Gazette music writer Brian McElhiney's preview of this show, click here.

Richard Butler is a man of few words, with the exception of the occasional, giggly, almost nervous “thank you” between numbers. He staggered back and forth across the stage through the songs and bounced up and down in place while waiting for his band to fire up the next number, keeping things moving at a nice click.

At the beginning of the set, it appeared the band would never slow down, with each song upping the ante in terms of energy and volume. “Only You and I” snarled under Good’s devastating riffs, while “Imitation of Christ” built upon haunting melodies delivered on Williams’ sax. By the time the band launched into “Ghost in You,” the closest thing to a ballad yet, it was a welcome reprieve from the thundering blast of the first half of the set.

“Heaven” once again brought the band back to upbeat tempos and melodies, but the set became more nuanced from there on out. Some of Williams’ finest playing came on “Like a Stranger,” where quick bursts from his sopranino saxophone punctuated Richard Butler’s droning chorus hooks. Both “My Time” and “Highwire Days” explored some of Good and Kramer’s more atmospheric playing, with the two weaving sounds in and out of the ever-present pounding rhythms.

Soon the band got to the bouncy “Love My Way” and “Heartbreak Beat” to close out the main set, all too early, it seemed. An encore featuring the snarling “All of the Law” and the tongue-in-cheek “India” left the crowd salivating for more.

It appeared the band was going to return a second time, until the house lights suddenly came up to a few disappointed moans. But despite the tease, this was one show that won’t be forgotten anytime soon in The Egg’s ongoing history.

 
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