LIVE: Psychedelic Furs @ Upstate Concert Hall, 10/8/17

October 17th, 2017, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Steven Stock

Irrepressible vocalist Richard Butler returned to Clifton Park with the same raspy croon and the same gifted backing quintet as on his last visit to the Upstate Concert Hall, back in August, 2015. You’d think that these guys might need some new songs to keep them interested – the Psychedelic Furs’ last record of original material was 1991’s World Outside – but nearly three months (and three continents!) into their current tour the band still seemed fully engaged by its impressive litany of hits.

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Despite his limited range as a singer, Butler is a riveting presence onstage, virtually illustrating each song with outsized arm gestures, occasionally kneeling to clasp hands with audience members. There’s often an intriguing tension between his unsparing lyrics and seemingly tender delivery, perhaps best exemplified by a crowd-pleasing rendition of “Pretty in Pink.”

Saxophonist Mars Williams was more than an instrumental foil to Butler – at times the diminutive dynamo threatened to steal the show. His squawking sax perfectly complemented drummer Paul Garisto’s stomping beat on a swaggering version of “Heartbeat” that slayed the fussy, overstuffed studio rendition. Perhaps in reaction to the synthesizer-dominated arrangements that afflicted some of the band’s late-’80s albums, the contributions of keyboardist Amanda Kramer were buried in the live sound mix, emerging briefly on “Love My Way” and “The Ghost in You.”

The hyperactive front line was constantly changing places onstage, bassist Tim Butler stomping about like Frankenstein and singing along emphatically even though he wasn’t miked. Guitarist Rich Good made the most of his limited solo space, his textured soundscapes coming to the fore on relative obscurities “Don’t Be a Girl” and “House.”

“Heaven” was a suitably uplifting conclusion to the main set, ensuring that the crowd would clamor for an encore. Garisto was first to return to the stage, pounding out the implacable doom-laden beat of “Sister Europe” on his own before the rest of the band joined this gorgeous dirge from the band’s debut.

The show ended with the first song from that eponymous first album, a stirring rendition of “India” that showcased the Furs’ mastery of dynamics.

Bash & Pop, led by former Replacement and current Hudson resident Tommy Stinson, were nearly as good in their brief set, thanks to appealing songs such as “Zero to Stupid,” “It’s a Drag” and the title track to their new album “Anything Could Happen.” A thunderous version of the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright” provided a welcome nod to the band’s roots.

Dumb Waiters
Mr. Jones
We Love You
Pretty in Pink
Love My Way
Run and Run
Until She Comes
The Ghost in You
Angels Don’t Cry
All That Money Wants
Heartbreak Beat
Don’t Be a Girl
Sister Europe

LIVE: Psychedelic Furs @ Upstate Concert Hall, 8/12/15
LIVE: The Psychedelic Furs @ The Egg, 6/2/12
Live: The Psychedelic Furs @ the Bearsville Theater, 10/15/10

One thought on “LIVE: Psychedelic Furs @ Upstate Concert Hall, 10/8/17”

  1. Tom perrins says:

    Butler and co. are very talented…like his solo music as well

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