Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls open up for the Psychedelic Furs tonight. It is far from the first time I have seen Pauline Murray as she has been the perennial support act for many bands from the early 1980s era since, well, the early 1980s. At least at the gigs I go to.
She is now 72 and her voice is still sounding great. Accompanied now by her daughter Grace on backing vocals and her son Alex on keyboards. As she says it’s a family affair. She’s clearly still having a great time playing live as are tonight’s headliners.
Since getting back together at the turn on the century, The
Psychedelic Furs have never really been away from the live arena but they have
been away from the studio. That is until April 2020 when 'Made of Rain' became their
first album release since 1991's 'World Outside' and you know what, it's an absolute cracker.
For various reasons, well one big reason actually - Covid,
they haven't had chance to play it live until now but when you’ve waited that
long to make a record what’s a two extra years?
Tonight they go big on the new album, really big, with no
less than seven tracks played from it but it comes off big time for them. It
helps that it is so good.
The album is not an attempt to reinvent the Furs material of the early days, nor the poppy Furs
of the mid-80s but it still has all the hallmarks of a Furs album including Richard
Butler’s trademark rasp of a vocal which remains a thing of wonder. In many
ways, the album continues the logical progression from their previous work. You can’t
really tell there’s been a gap of 30 years since ‘World Outside’. While tracks
like ‘Don’t Believe’ and ‘Ash Wednesday’ are broodingly atmospheric the
likes of ‘You’ll Be Mine’ are powerful, exhilarating and just as anthemic as
some of their more famous stuff.
There are of course plenty of juicy tracks from their other
seven albums as well or at least the first five more famous ones. From the opening
of ‘Highwire Days’ and ‘Dumb Waiters’ to the closing double of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Heartbreak
Beat’ through the likes of ‘Mr. Jones’, ‘The Ghost In You’, ‘Pretty in Pink’. ‘Love
My Way’ and ‘President Gas’
Throughout it all the 65 year teenager Richard Butler
bounces his way through the set in his rock’n’roll shades. Although he does seem
to have a music stand in front of him in case he forgets the words?
Then after a night celebrating the new album it is perhaps
somewhat appropriate to go full reverse circle and to close the night with a
encore of the opening two tracks from their self-titled debut album. The glorious
anguish of ‘Sister Europe’ followed by the adrenaline whirl that is ‘India’.