Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Jun 5th 2010 11:00AM by Kenneth Partridge
Although the Furs formed in 1977 and started life as a punk act, the Londoners eventually morphed into something more, purveyors of "melodramatic popular song," to borrow an oft-used (and oft-ironic) MySpace genre descriptor. In that sense, 'Pyjamarama' is the perfect cover for the Furs: an artsy, swanky pop nugget that set the template for many of their own hits.
Roxy singer Bryan Ferry was certainly an influence on 'Love My Way,' the Furs' lead-off tune Friday night. Aching and sophisticated, punctuated by ghostly synth swells and faux-xylophone plinks, the song revealed Butler to be in fine form. His voice has dried and thickened, but those unavoidable byproducts of aging have done little to hinder the sound. The same can be said of the group's personnel changes, as guitarist Rich Good, keyboardist Amanda Kramer and sax player Mars Williams -- none of whom are original members -- all do what is required of them.
Williams stepped out front for the 1984 single 'Heartbeat,' blasting the tune's signature horn line. He grabbed a soprano sax for 'Talk Like a Stranger' and blew an extended alto solo on 'Sister Europe,' making ample use of reverb effects. Mostly, though, he stuck with simple driving leads, falling in with the rest of the musicians and staying out of Butler's way.
Dressed all in black -- official Furs uniform, it would appear -- Butler was quiet but engaged. He only spoke to the audience once, commenting on how hot it was onstage, but between songs, he grinned and hopped in place, like a jogger stuck at a traffic light. When he sang, he accompanied his words with sidesteps, shimmies and silent-film arm gestures.
His grooving reached a kind of zenith on closer 'Pretty In Pink,' the Furs' greatest hit, a timeless tune that transcends its status as overplayed '80s smash and John Hughes movie theme. Like Frank Sinatra with 'My Way' or Rotten with 'God Save the Queen,' Butler will be singing the song for years to come. If Friday's performance was any indication, he's made peace with that reality.
Psychedeilc Furs on AOL Music