Review + photos by L Paul Mann
March 4, 2018 | Agoura, CA – On a cold and sleepy Sunday night the veteran Punk and New Wave band, the Psychedelic Furs brought nearly 2,500 people to the Canyon Club in Agoura, California. The standing room only show featured decades of hit music from the veteran English rockers.
The band featuring original members, brothers Tim Butler on bass guitar and Richard Butler on lead vocals began the set with songs from their post-punk roots before moving into the New Wave and motion picture soundtrack hits that have made the band a mainstay in pop music.
The band formed in 1977 and released their first album in 1980. The punk-inspired edge of their debut album was dulled for the group’s second release, 1981’s Talk Talk Talk, which included the original version of the song “Pretty in Pink,” which later became part of the soundtrack of the movie of the same name. They cracked the U.S. Top 40 with “Love My Way” in 1982, and followed up with songs like “Heaven,” “The Ghost in You” and “Heartbreak Beat.” The band broke up for most of the 90s before the Butler brothers reunited to return the band to touring. The current group also features saxophone player Mars Williams, who joined the band in 1986, Drummer Paul Garisto, who also participated in 1986, keyboardist Amanda Kramer who joined the group in 2003 and guitarist Rich Good the newest member of the band since 2006.
The 16 song setlist, including an encore, featured some of the bands most well-known hits over the decades. The band has a loyal following and fans could be heard singing along to nearly every word throughout the cavernous venue.
The band celebrated their 40th-anniversary last year and showed no signs of slowing down, with an extensive US and European tour planned this year until at least August. Lead singer Tim Butler was inspired to start a band, after attending a Sex Pistols concert he attended as a teenager. The charismatic singer connected well with the audience at the Agoura show with veteran dance moves and intelligent banter between songs. The group has become a righty knit jam band, playing innovative and extended versions of their hit songs. The packed crowd responded enthusiastically after every song.
While the band has a reputation as an 80s new wave synth band like Depeche Mode, their live show is more akin to their roots as a post-punk band. But as the group has evolved over the decades, they have become a rock band, experimenting in heady jam band territory with pleasing results. The Psychedelic Furs in 2018 is a serious live band well worth a trip to one of their shows.
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