Veteran post-punk rockers , the Psychedelic Furs were a force to be reckoned with during their 80’s heyday. Led by brothers Richard Butler and Tim Butler the band released seven albums between 1980 and 1991 that spawned more than 20 singles including the iconic hits “Love My Way,” “Heartbreak Beat,” and “Pretty in Pink.” After taking an extended hiatus, the band reformed in 2001, and continued to tour regularly. Now with frontman Richard Butler turning 61 and showing no signs of slowing down, the Furs announced a substantial “Singles Tour” that will see the band pay homage to their catalog of hit singles over a swath of dates across Europe and North America. Tapped to open the recent run of dates, including a stop at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro NC, is seminal Tommy Stinson-led outfit Bash & Pop.
The Cradle was sold out well in advance, and such was the anticipation of eager fans, that they began to lineup for the show well before the doors opened. The club filled early and it was quickly apparent that a solid core of fans was every bit as eager to catch Bash & Pop as the Psychedelic Furs.
Bash & Pop was formed in 1992 by bassist Tommy Stinson following the breakup of his previous group, quintessential alternative rockers, the Replacements. Friday Night Is Killing Me, Bash & Pop’s delightfully shambolic debut album was released shortly after, in 1993. Not completely happy with the band’s dynamic, Stinson put Bash & Pop out to pasture shortly after. Since then, he has released two solo albums, joined Guns N’ Roses during Axl’s Chinese Democracy period, worked with Soul Asylum, and even rejoined the Replacements for a series of reunion shows between 2013 and 2015. To say the man has remained busy would be an understatement! With the second parting of the ways by the Replacements, Tommy Stinson has found himself returning once again to Bash & Pop. Now, 24 years after releasing the debut album, Stinson has revamped Bash & Pop and released Anything Could Happen, the improbable, long-awaited, follow-up album. Anything Could Happen is a solid jolt of good old rock n’ roll with Replacements swagger, and arguably some of Stinson’s best work.
As Bash & Pop took the stage at the Cradle, Tommy Stinson walked up to the microphone, and with a wry smile launched into “Not This Time,” the opening track from the new album, followed by “Fast and Hard” from Friday Night is Killing Me. Stinson’s vocals were gritty and well suited to the loose ramshackle rock n’ roll. With Steve Selvidge on guitar, Joe Serois on drums, and a bass player filling out the low end, the band worked through a set that mixed songs from both Bash & Pop albums, Stinson’s solo work, and even a rollicking cover of the Who’s “The Kids Are Alright.” The crowd was completely committed, cheering and yelling out encouragement non-stop. By the time Bash & Pop closed their set with “Anything Could Happen” and “Never Aim To Please,” the room was completely enthralled and calling for more. This was an opening set that plenty of headliners would struggle to follow.
Luckily, armed with an arsenal of solid hits and years of touring under their belts, the Psychedelic Furs were up to the challenge and played with a comfortable bravado. As the lights dropped for the Furs set, the crowd surged forward to get as close as possible to the band. Frontman Richard Butler, sporting large sunglasses, looked over at his brother Tim on bass with an even larger smile as the band kicked off with the raucous “Dumb Waiters” from 1981’s Talk Talk Talk. The energy emanating from the stage was immediately apparent as Richard Butler defied his age and won over the crowd with his strong instantly recognizable vocals and charismatic swagger. Tim Butler and the rest of the band that included Rich Good on guitar, Mars Williams on saxophone, Amanda Kramer on keyboards, and Paul Garisto on drums, matched the frontman’s pace. The 18 song set included the expected hits like “Pretty in Pink,” “Love My Way,” “All That Money Wants,” and “Heartbreak Beat,” as well as some moodier and lesser known songs like “Danger,” “Until She Comes,” “Angels Don’t Cry,” and “House.” Despite the fact that many of the diehard fans in the audience have heard most of the songs before, the band managed to play each song with a fresh intensity. After closing their set with “Heaven,” the band returned for a two-song encore of “Sister Europe” and “India.” While they may have risen to prominence more than 30 years ago, The Psychedelic Furs continue to deliver a solid and engaging live show.
Psychedelic Furs + Bash & Pop @ Cat’s Cradle – September 27th 2017