The Psychedelic Furs - The Brudenell Social Club
Gig Date: Saturday, 7th July 2012
Location: Leeds - Great Britain
Arctic Magic Moment: India
Arctic Rating :
Review by: Rich Pickings - 9th July 2012
Look, I hate these type of things normally. Reunions. Get togethers. Get wells. Just because the music industry now has now achieved some kind of extended half life we now expect our former idols to not just appear at their youthful zenith on You Tube, but in our backyards venting now as they did when in their Dionysian zenith. On most occasions, you just end up staring at them like you're their personal physicians, secretly wincing every time they do a scissor kick or punch the air, paranoid that they'll end up breaking something and then feeling as shitty as you do every single day.
It's much easier to salve your conscience where the Psychedelic Furs are concerned, firstly because although they went away they duly came back long before this morbid obsession with the eighties reared it's ugly head, but also because they're a one-of-a-kind, a sound of grit and feathers that's hard to nail down for aspiring copyists, the result being that familiarity has never had an opportunity to breed contempt amongst the cynical.
Support The March Violets are of this parish, and given that LS6 was arguably once the home of Goth (The Sisters of Mercy's old communal terraced house, known in it's heyday as The Pharmacy is less than a mile away) they're going down like free face paint. Backed by what I'm reliably informed by my co-attendee as the same drum machine known to Andrew Eldritch as Doktor Avalanche, lead singer Simon Denbeigh looks like Billy Connolly playing Dracula, but despite the taffeta he and co-vocalist Rosie Garland (Herself done up like a refugee from the Weimar republic) have yards of good humour to spare.
Any thoughts that the brothers Butler might be concerned about coming on after the pipe and slippers watershed are rapidly dispensed with during Into You Like A Train, a thundering opener that proves Richard's voice is still a coruscating, soulful rasp and equally that Tim is still perfectly comfortable wearing sunglasses in a darkened club. With no new material for more than 20 years what follows isn't so much a greatest hits set as a diffident pick list, one that especially works saxophonist Mars Williams, a man with the stature of a Hobbit but the lungs of Pavarotti. Mars gets to blow on the likes of Heartbeat, whilst Butler, R. bounces between songs like some kind of sprite, the only concession to age an enormous pair of glasses that gives an air of Michael Caine, especially when he breaks into an enormous grin, which happens frequently.
Most selections come not surprisingly is from the older end of the band's career spectrum, leaning as much on Talk Talk Talk and Mirror Moves albums as anything else. Casual observers (There seemed to be few) would have been delighted to get an early rendition of Pretty In Pink, whilst for the dedicated (There seemed to be many) were sunk deep into the jaws of an imperious President Gas, or the valedictory-like Imitation of Christ. As if to prove a point the audience formed a small but enthusiastic mosh pit, populated by men who are undoubtedly old enough to know better slugging it out to a pummelling It Goes On, but the night throws up two contrasting highs, the first in Love My Way, a song as oddball pop as the Furs ever tried, but more surprisingly in the deeply reflective My Time, a live obscurity before recent tours but one made for the Brudenell's special ego reducing band-punter sense of intimacy.
So reunions eh? Let's do it again. Let's do it for the fans. Let's do it for our kids. Let's do it for our bank balances. Whatever they did it for, The Psychedelic Furs haven't done it in Leeds for more than twenty years. It's hard to imagine anyone being that remiss again.