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The Psychedelic Furs still burn that new wave torch

Psychedelic Furs at the Georgia Theatre in Athens


Live review: The Psychedelic Furs with Ritvals and Tha Hugs at the Georgia Theatre, Athens, GA, 3/28/14

The Psychedelic Furs in Athens, GA
Maggie Butler

As punk music was taking its last breath, the Butler brothers jumped in the game with the formation of the Psychedelic Furs. The band had a respectable following and almost cult status when John Hughes named his 1986 movie Pretty in Pink after the song on the Furs’ 1981 album Talk Talk Talk. This shot them into the stratosphere. One of a handful of preeminent new wave bands, the group disbanded after their final studio release World Outside in 1991.

Lead singer Richard Butler hammered out a solo album as well as a couple releases with bassist brother Tim as Love Spit Love. Besides all that, touring has been the mainstay for this group. And that brought them to Athens, GA in 2014.

Playing the awesomely transformed Georgia Theatre in Athens (this, after a fire destroyed most of it in 2009), the band sounded as fresh as it did in the 80s. With Butler’s trademark raspy voice, the London sextet blasted through a nostalgic set of sing-along crowd pleasers. Butler danced and swayed around the stage the entire evening, acting like someone way younger than his 56 years. The Butler brothers and premiere saxophonist Mars Williams are the only original members still touring (Williams joined the band in 1983). Amanda Kramer, Rich Good and Paul Garisto help round out the current touring line up.

“Love My Way,” “The Ghost In You” and “Pretty In Pink” may be the three most identifiable tunes in the Psychedelic Furs’ catalog, but there are more moments that make up their deserved reputation as new wave masters. Some of those are “Heaven,” “Heartbreak Beat,” “All That Money Wants,” “Heartbeat,” “Until She Comes” and “President Gas.” There are many “reunion” groups touring out there, but these guys never really took an extensive break. Fans just patiently await another studio album. Do they have one more in them?

Openers Ritvals and Tha Hugs, both terrific local Athens bands did a bang-up job opening for the Furs. While many present were not of college age – remembering the huge sold out Psychedelic Furs show back in 1984 – the University of Georgia students in the crowd were very familiar with these two opening bands. It was the best of both worlds, showcasing young and old alt–rock bands.

For tour information on the Psychedelic Furs, click HERE.

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