The Psychedelic Furs didn’t waste any time. They set the proper mood for their Saturday show at the Egg by opening with “Into You Like a Train,” one of the standout tracks of their still-great album Talk Talk Talk. The Furs proved that their sound still packs a wallop. They melt guitar, bass, synths and sax into a loud, pleasingly dense swirl over which singer Richard Butler’s hypnotic drone hovers like the voice of romantic doom.
Did I mention to the younger folks that the Psychedelic Furs are an ’80s band?
OK, technically they started in the late 1970s and had success well into the 1990s, but their sound was part of pop music’s DNA in the 1980s. They were ahead of the times, however: It was five years before Hollywood was ready to repurpose what should have been Talk Talk Talk’s breakthrough hit into a teen movie theme. The Furs knocked out “Pretty in Pink” early, by the way.
Butler is still spry, and seemed to delight in the fact that he could still bring adoring fans to the edge of the stage with his crane-like moves. Bassist brother Tim may not be as spry, but he was having a great time.
The band played for almost an hour and a half, wrapping it up with two of their most radio- and club-friendly tunes, “Love My Way” and “Heartbreak Beat.” The Hart Theater may have been half empty, but those on hand were solid fans: just a handful of stragglers bolted for the exits after the main set ended.
Many bands who have reached their (ahem) maturity skip the whole make-the-crowd-cheer-for-an-encore ritual; some skip encores altogether. The Furs proved to be old-school, and a sufficient quantity of noise was required before they returned for a three-tune set. It was worth it: the psychedelic swirl (there’s no better adjective for it) and snarly intensity of the final song, “India,” was the highlight of the show.
The Furs departed for a second time in triumph. By my reckoning, the crowd was sufficiently ardent to rate another song. But after a few minutes of whistling (and hollering) in the dark, the house light came up. Were we judged not worthy? I’d like to think that the Psychedelic Furs didn’t have a second encore up their sleeves, and were just messing with us. It would fit with their musical personality.