Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Saturday, 13 October 2012 16:27

Concert review: Retro rock rules the Pageant with the Psychedelic Furs and the Lemonheads, Friday, October 12

Concert review: Retro rock rules the Pageant with the Psychedelic Furs and the Lemonheads, Friday, October 12 facebook.com/psychedelicfurs
Written by Amy Burger
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

The '80s reigned supreme last night at the Pageant as the Lemonheads and the Psychedelic Furs played a doubly nostalgic bill.

As the Lemonheads took the stage, the crowd was still surprisingly sparse, with only the floor and table seating areas moderately full and the balcony closed. And something, or rather someone, was starkly absent.

The Lemonheads had initially billed their St. Louis stop, the first on their tour, as including bassist Juliana Hatfield. Apparently "unforeseen circumstances" led to her canceling her dates with the band -- a notice she tweeted on October 2. Though the band and venue removed her name from digital mentions of the show, it seemed most fans had not received this information in advance, as a wave of disappointment clearly swept across the crowd.

Lead singer Evan Dando looked a bit worn, keeping his head mostly down and sporting an over-sized plaid flannel shirt and khakis plucked straight out of 1989. The band's set of broody alt-rock seemed a bit of a downer, really. Even the hit, "It's a Shame About Ray," elicited little enthusiasm from the crowd, save for one very excited fan in the front of the floor. Admittedly, I have never been a big fan, and I found them to be an odd pairing for the richer, more upbeat, post-punk sound of the Psychedelic Furs.

The Pageant's main floor filled up quickly as the Furs finally took the stage, the majority of the crowd (not surprisingly) over 40, with many gray heads present. At 56, lead singer Richard Butler has aged fairly well. Though he sports shorter hair and a few more wrinkles, his gruff yet melodic voice seems to have changed little in more than 30 years. Love it or hate it (I personally love it), his vocals are so unmistakably his own and so iconic of his era.

Wearing a basic black suit and thick-rimmed glasses, he grinned widely as he began crooning the opening notes of "Only You and I," a heavier and darker cut from the band's 1982 classic "Forever Now." A treat for die-hard fans, the Furs played a vast majority of tunes from that seminal album, including "Love My Way" (featuring the first of many great solos by saxophonist extraordinaire Mars Williams), "Run and Run," "Danger," "No Easy Street" and "President Gas."

Ever present at Richard's side was his bassist brother, Tim Butler, and guitarist Rich Good. Drummer Paul Garisto and keyboardist Amanda Kramer subtly did their thing in the background as Williams worked the crowd with his sax.

Just as at the band's last St. Louis show over a year ago, they were also joined mid-set by St. Louis guitar star Richard Fortus (formerly of local bands the Eyes/Pale Divine, Richard and Tim Butler's post-Furs band Love Spit Love and Guns n' Roses), who shredded on heavy jam "Mr. Jones," then stayed on stage for the majority of the show.

Butler looked like a giddy child, jumping up and down between songs and gesturing theatrically to his own lyrics. He showed his softer side on mellow favorites like "Ghost in You," "Heaven" and "Heartbreak Beat." I've always found the Furs' versatility to be one of their most amazing qualities. They so easily transition from loud, punk-driven anthems to sweet rock ballads and perform both to perfection.

Though the band's biggest mainstream hit, "Pretty in Pink," brought droves of fans to the dance floor, it felt a tad lackluster in comparison to the other deeper material the Furs took on.

The encore was a true treat, with the much anticipated and politically charged "President Gas" followed by "India," a raw and heavy track from the band's self-titled 1980 studio debut, during which Butler encouraged Williams to take his sax solo up higher and higher, culminating in a piercing wail.

The show was more than satisfying and the Furs proved that they aren't simply some has-been '80s band phoning it in on tired old hits. Quite the contrary, the Butler brothers and company provided fresh and fierce renditions of some of the best rock songs of the post-punk era. Mostly, they seemed to be having a great time doing it -- and the fans responded in kind.

The energy and musicianship they bring to their seemingly timeless body of work makes this fan yearn for a new Furs album. Who knows -- maybe after all the touring they will get back in the studio and deliver. I hope so; but until then, I'll "let it stay forever now."

Upcoming Concerts

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

Graham Pagano

Mon June 23
Graham Pagano's debut album Quit Complaining is a high charged mix of old and new music. his old blues and classic country feel blended up with a rock and roll attitude makes this stripped down album explode…

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-mix.jpg

KDHX Recommends

July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


August
Saturday
02

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014 The Aching Hearts are the husband and wife duo of Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells (host of Steam-Powered Radio on 88.1 KDHX), who recently released the CD "Just a Habit." Join them and KDHX for a morning of classic, old-time...


August
Wednesday
06

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange

KDHDX presents Mandolin Orange as part of The Discovery Series on Wednesday August 6 at 7:30 pm.   The North Carolina-based duo combines bluegrass, rock, and country, providing a modern take on age-old styles. Tickets...


Online Users

6 users and 9260 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook