Written by Jessica Bagley.
The Psychedelic Furs, known for hits such as ‘Love My Way’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’, the latter inspiring the title of the 1986 film of the same name, took to the Manchester Academy 2 stage on Sunday 10th April. Frontman Richard Butler was joined by his brother, Tim, on bass, the saxophonist Mars Williams, keyboardist Amanda Kramer, guitarist Rich Good and Zack Alford on drums. They attracted a large, mixed crowd of a variety of ages, although the demographic veered towards diehard fans who seemed to have loved the band at least since the release of 1981’s Talk Talk Talk.
The set burst into life with ‘Highwire Days’, and Butler had the audience in the palm of his hand from the onset. With relatively few words spoken in between songs, apart from a coy “Ta” after each applause, The Psychedelic Furs maintained a high level of engagement with the crowd through animated dance moves and movement across the stage to ensure every corner of the room felt included. Despite releasing an album in 2020, the London band played a set comprised of tracks from throughout their whole career, including my personal favourite of theirs, ‘President Gas’, from the 1982 album Forever Now, which was met with excitement and dancing from the crowd, as well as myself.
The love and pride the band had for each song was particularly clear, as well as their genuine enjoyment gained from playing, and their admiration for each other’s talent. Intermittently, the elder Butler played a pair of wooden blocks to compliment his striking voice, completely unchanged from their original records that brought The Psychedelic Furs their success. For me, one of the many highlights of the night was the sheer talent of saxophonist Mars Williams, whose extraordinary skill was best showcased on the last track of the night, ‘India’, which completely blew the room away. His experience of classical clarinet was not put to waste, however, as this replaced his saxophone on the songs played towards the beginning of the set.
The crowd-pleasing hits of ‘Pretty in Pink’ and ‘Love My Way’ were played back-to-back, yet the momentum of the audience did not falter before, or after, this exciting moment. It was satisfying to see fans, both old and young, genuinely thrilled to watch a band who clearly gained an equal level of enjoyment from their performance, and I personally cannot wait until I get the opportunity to see them again.
The Psychedelic Furs’ tour continues through 2022. Remaining tickets are available here.
You can read more gig reviews from The Mancunion here.