Live Review: The Psychedelic Furs + Royston Langdon @ Cat’s Cradle – November 3rd 2021

The summer of 2020 will be remembered for most of us being in isolation as the COVID-19 pandemic was gripping the nation.  But there were a few positives that may have snuck in under the radar.  The summer of 2020 saw the Psychedelic Furs release Made of Rain, their eighth album, and first in almost 30 years.  The album, produced by Richard Fortus, has garnered positive reviews from fans and critics alike, and fits solidly within their catalog.  The band were eager to hit the road and play the new material, but as COVID and its variants lingered, they were unable to safely tour.  But now as things are starting to return to a new normal, the Furs have been able to embark on a Fall tour of North America.  We caught up with them this past week at a sold-out Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro NC.

As we slowly move toward a post-pandemic normalcy, Cat’s Cradle has continued to operate with measures put into place for the safety of both performers and audience members.  Attendees at the Psychedelic Furs show were required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test before entering the venue.  Once inside, audience members were instructed to wear masks at all times.  The new protocols were a small inconvenience in order to get back out there and experience live music in a communal setting.  The fans packing the Cradle didn’t seem too bothered.  When the lights dropped, and the crowd buzzed with excitement as the Psychedelic Furs took the stage, the only thing that mattered was the music.

After the band had taken their places, frontman Richard Butler, sporting his signature sunglasses, sauntered onto the stage, took in the crowd, and gave a nod to his brother Tim on bass as the band kicked off with “Run and Run” from 1982’s Forever Now.  They followed with “Dumb Waiters,” before reaching into the new album with “You’ll Be Mine.”  The Psychedelic Furs were a force to be reckoned with during their 80’s heyday, and with an arsenal of solid hits and years of touring under their belts, they do not seem to have lost any of their swagger.  They still perform with a joy and playfulness that instantly won over the audience.  While fan favorites such as “Pretty In Pink” and “Heaven” got some of the wildest cheers, new songs like “Wrong Train” and “Don’t Believe” were also well-received, fitting in perfectly with the classics.

While Richard Butler brought the songs to life with his hand gestures and swaying arms, its his distinctive voice, that has retained every bit of its warmth, emotion, and force, that grabbed the crowd’s attention from the front of the stage, all the way to the back corners of the room. Not to be outdone by the Butler brothers, the rest of the band, including Mars Williams on saxophone, Rich Good on guitar, Amanda Kramer on keyboards, and newest touring member Zach Alford on drums, were tight as they locked-in and played each song with an energetic intensity.  After closing their set with the wildly received “Heartbreak Beat” the band returned for a two-song encore of “Sister Europe” and “India.”      

It may be tempting to write off the Psychedelic Furs as a nostalgia act, but that would be a shortsighted mistake.  The show at Cat’s Cradle proved that the Furs can continue to deliver new music and perform at every bit as high a level as they did when they rose to prominence more than 30 years ago… All with an added maturity and contemporary alternative-rock appeal.

Opening the show fell to unique singer-songwriter, Royston Langdon, the one-time frontman of English alternative rock band, Spacehog.  Royston, bedecked in a cowboy hat and white sunglasses, and accompanied by acoustic guitar, played a solo set of songs culled from his new EP Chains, Spacehog classics, and even “Ashes To Ashes,” a rousing David Bowie cover.

The Psychedelic Furs + Royston Langdon @ Cat’s Cradle
Photos © Dan Kulpa // Clashdan Photography

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