October 21, 2017
The Psychedelic Furs are one of the most iconic bands of the modern rock era. The British band found initial fame in the early 1980s with what was originally an art-rock sound that developed into the more robust New Wave and Modern Rock with which the band achieved its biggest successes. The band initially consisted of Richard Butler (vocals), his younger brother Tim Butler (bass), saxophonist Duncan Kilburn, Paul Wilson (drums) and guitarist Roger Morris. Over time the line-up expanded into a six-piece as guitarist John Ashton was added to the line-up and Vince Ely took over on drums. Drummer Paul Garisto and saxophonist Mars Williams joined the band in 1987 for the Midnight To Midnight (Columbia Records) album. The current Psychedelic Furs touring line-up is Richard Butler, Tim Butler, Garisto, Williams, Amanda Kramer on keyboards and Rich Good on guitar. During its career, the Psychedelic Furs has released a number of essential Modern Rock and New Wave singles that are quite well known. The albums that these songs were originally released on are integral parts of the record and CD collections of Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and in-the-know Millennials.
Bash & Pop is led by ex-Replacements, Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum member Tommy Stinson. The band had its genesis in 1993 after the Replacements went their separate ways. Friday Night Is Killing Me (Sire Records) was a critical success, but, unfortunately, for the music buying public, it took until earlier this year for the long-anticipated follow up, Anything Could Happen to be recorded and released on Fat Possum Records. Stinson was a teenager when The Replacements came to prominence is still a fantastic rock ‘n’ roll performer. His career has been both lengthy and enviable. In the mid-‘90s, he was the singer and bassist for the rock band, Perfect. He joined Guns N' Roses in 1998. Stinson released his debut solo album, Village Gorilla Head on the Sanctuary label in 2004. He was a member of Soul Asylum from 2006 until 2011. As former WDRE/WLIR Staffer and current WEHM-FM disc jockey, Drew Martin once opined, “If I ever meet Axl, I’ll be sure to remind him how lucky he was to be in a band with Tommy.”
On a cool, Long Island evening the Psychedelic Furs and Bash & Pop graced the stage at the Huntington, NY rock emprorium, the Paramount. The cozy mid-sized venue opened in 2011 and has been ranked among the best music clubs--both locally and nationally. Before the festivities began, there was a tangible excitement in the air as the crowd began to fill the theater and work its way into the main performance space.
Bash & Pop was the evening’s opening act, but the show, to those in the know, was more of a double-bill. Stinson played like a man possessed. He appeared sporting a sports jacket and spiked hair with an old and weathered Fender Telecaster slung over his shoulder. Stinson and his band (Steve Selvidge on lead guitar, Justin Perkins on bass and Joe Sirois on drums) fired up the crowd with a raw and boisterous set. The foursome played as if their lives depended upon it. Bash & Pop’s short, but highly charged and energetic set was highlighted by: “Bad News,” “Anybody Else,” “Too Late,” “Not A Moment Too Soon,” “Zero To Stupid,” “Never Aim to Please” and “Friday Night Is Killing Me.”
After a short intermission, the lights again dimmed and the Psychedelic Furs stormed the stage. Though he rarely spoke between songs, Richard Butler spent the evening interacting with the crowd. His distinctive vocals as well as the band’s driving renditions of the group’s iconic canon had all of the vitality, vim and vigor of the original versions recorded during the group's heyday. Both the band and Richard Butler seemed quite stoked on the Bowie-esque "Mr. Jones" (from 1981’s Columbia Records LP Talk Talk Talk) which was played at breakneck speed. During the performance, Richard Butler commanded the attention of every member of the audience with his dancing, his pirouettes, his jumping up and down and his constant movement. It was impossible to not keep one's eyes pinned to his every move. He clapped and gestured theatrically throughout the set. His gravely, raspy, growling vocals were crisp and clear as the band roared through muscular sing-along versions of “Pretty In Pink,” “Love My Way” “Until She Comes” and “Heartbeat.”
The audience cheered mightily throughout the band's highest charting single, "Heartbreak Beat" (during which Richard Butler reached out from the stage to shake hands and “high-five” the lucky fans in the packed venue who had made their way close to the stage) and “Don’t be A Girl” (from World Outside released on Columbia Records in 1991). The thirteen song main set ended with “Heaven,” the signature song and first single from the band's fourth studio album, Mirror Moves (Columbia, 1984).
The encores, much like the entire show, were short, sweet, high-energy and right to the point. “Sister Europe” and “India” from the band’s eponymously titled debut album (Columbia, 1980) provided a fitting end to a strong performance.
Though the members of the audience had heard all of the Psychedelic Furs songs many times before, the band breathed life into them with a dynamic performance that left the crowd in a state of euphoria. The band will return to the Paramount and the New York/Long Island area…and the fans will also be back.
Photos by Christine Connallon.