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THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS @ HMV RITZ, MANCHESTER 02/07/12 - REVIEW BY PHIL KING

There’s something strangely fitting about the Psychedelic Furs playing the Ritz. Both have seen better days though both still display the same fierce pride, even though the glamour of a past life is slowly starting to fade away. Now thirty-five years young, the Psychedelic Furs appear to have dispensed with any notions of releasing new music - their last album ‘World Outside’ was unleashed way back in 1991 – and seem to be happy touring the world with their back catalogue. This isn’t a bad thing; most bands would die to have tracks like ‘Pretty in Pink’ and ‘Heaven’ in their arsenal, and yes the songs have grown better with time, but it would be nice to hear some new material from this wonderful band.

Surprisingly there’s no support tonight so the large crowd has to pass the time buying extortionately priced drinks from the bar whilst patiently waiting for the Psychedelic Furs to come on stage. This they eventually do without much fanfare at nine o’ clock and immediately launch into a solid and urgent version of ‘Into You Like A Train’. It’s well worth the wait because the band is on fine form. The band is still the two original members, brothers Richard and Tim Butler, but the Furs sound revolves around Rich Good’s needle sharp guitar which drives the tunes along, and saxophonist Mars Williams who give the tunes an extra dimension. But as good as these components part are; it’s frontman Richard Butler who pulls it all together. Still looking great at 56, he remains the consummate showman, interpreting the songs with hand and body movements which may sound rubbish in print, but in the flesh it’s actually great to watch. He still has that throaty growl of a voice that gives these songs a unique edge and makes them nothing less than compelling. And when it all works together songs like ‘Imitation of Christ’ and ‘India’ and especially final song of the night ‘Forever Now’, its simple majestic.   

Strangely any between songs banter with the audience, other than a cursory ‘Thank you’ is completely absent. But I don’t think the crowd mind one bit, because this is a band that sound extremely comfortable with themselves and quite possibly playing the best music of its career.  

Setlist:

Into You Like A Train
Mr Jones
Heartbeat
Pretty In Pink
Only You and I
Imitation of Christ
It Goes On
Heaven
Like a Stranger
My Time
Highwire Days
Love My Way
India

Encore:

House
Forever Now

Review & photos by Phil king - www.philkingphotography.com