Psychedelic Furs keep audiences purring

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Despite a full British alt-rock scene in the 1980s, the Psychedelic Furs stood out.

Walk into any college dorm then, and chances were good that "Love My Way," "The Ghost in You," or another Furs anthem could be heard blasting from at least one student's room. But almost as quickly as they burst on the scene -- with their dark shows and haunting tunes -- the band seemed to disintegrate.

"When you start out, a lot of your motivation is just wanting to be cool," frontman Richard Butler said, in a statement, of those times. "But at this point in my life, I don't give a damn about being cool. When you get some experience, you start questioning what cool really means. To me, being cool is about knowing who you are and having the confidence to be yourself, and that's what I'm trying to do on this record."

The record of which he speaks is his self-titled debut solo album. The 11 tracks are a departure from the Furs anthems, exploring more complex emotional and philosophical issues in an introspective way. Butler said the songs are deeply personal, exploring such issues as the death of his father and the break up of his marriage.

Onstage
The Psychedelic Furs
When: 6 p.m. Doors, 8 p.m. Show, Monday
Where; Howard Theatre, 620 T Street NW
Info: $30; 202-397-SEAT; ticketmaster.com

"I think everybody reaches a point in their lives where they begin to ask themselves certain questions. When you're young you feel like you're bulletproof and being old seems a very long way away," he said. "But once you get to around 40, you begin to realize that you're not going to live forever, and you begin to think a bit more seriously about things like God and love and death."

That's not to say Butler isn't committed to work with the Furs, with which he's on tour. In fact, rumors of a new Furs' album abound.

But in a way new music is beside the point. The Furs' have always been about musicianship and attitude. The years have only deepened both.

"Musically, you won't get much better than an evening with The Psychedelic Furs," blogged fan DrummerRiser who attended a Furs' London show this summer. "There's a freshness and a vibrancy about their music that makes me wonder how anybody could willingly listen to anyone called Beiber. There's just no contest.

"Whether they are playing tracks with a driving beat, such as 'Mr Jone's or 'Into You Like A Train,' or whether it's a slower, more melodic track such as 'Heaven or All Of This & Nothing,' the audience reaction is the same -- utter entrancement. They sound like the end result every other live band is aiming for, and deservedly receive the adulation the audience pours out."

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner