So the U2 360° tour passed through town Wednesday. I was not at Sun Life Stadium for the event, nor had I wished to be.
I have instead put my measly weekly discretionary income aside for The Psychedelic Furs, who are playing The Culture Room tonight.
If I were looking for the authentic concert experience, and why wouldn't I be, then it probably should have been the U2 show I steered myself toward. After all, U2 released a new album of original material as recently as two years ago, and they are touring of course with a lineup composed entirely of original members.
Taking a quick look at the Psych Furs' Wikipedia page and at the band's own site, I see that the last time the Furs released a new album of original material, it was 1991, and that only two out of six in the current touring lineup were onhand 31 years ago for the debut elpee.
Consider that tickets to the U2 show could have been had for as little as thirty bucks, and that The Culture Room is asking 25 tonight, and I appear to have allocated my time and my money somewhat rashly.
The question, then, almost assaults you in its eagerness to be formed: Why would I wanna go see some nostalgia band when for almost the same dough I could have gone to see something that is continuing to evolve?
Well, the smartass answer to that question is simply that I don't like what U2 is evolving into.
Seriously, I liked the Irish blokes in the '80's, when Bono 'n' The Edge 'n' Adam Clayton 'n' Larry Mullen basically copyrighted the angular postpunk pop anthem. But their music in the nineties and in the aughts moved away from that sound, into some kind of nethergroove I don't get, and I chose--rightly I think--not to follow.
And if The Psychedelic Furs have stopped evolving because they've stopped producing original music, maybe the most important upshot of that is that they stopped growing at a place where I still liked them.
The Furs' site says that their current set of dates is the "Talk Talk Talk 30th Anniversary Tour," and though I don't know if any Furs album is the complete masterpiece that would truly deserve such honorifics, I still think the fact that they'll be playing their second album in order tonight, in its entirety, is pretty cool.
Even if John Ashton and Vince Ely and Duncan Kilburn won't be some of the ones playing it.
I see, as they are fond of saying on the internet, what I did there. After spending two days writing condescendingly about the nostalgia process and the way it replaces critical listening, I lay down some bullshit that suggests nostalgia's OK when I choose to invoke it.
Guilty, I suppose.
This won't be the first time I've seen The Psychedelic Furs, as it happens. I think it was 1987 and the band was touring off Midnight to Midnight. If that album wasn't the band's artistic height, it was certainly the height of their success, and its promo tour came to the fancy-ass James L Knight Center at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami.
I remember that the newest AOR station in town at the time, WGTR, was sponsoring the thing, their personnel as they raised the banners and introduced the show blithely ignoring the sad fact that the station featured none of The Furs' music in their daily playlists. The station had brought along their two-and-a-half storey inflatable guitar-playing monkey, and had tried to raise it outside the hall, but it, fittingly and pathetically both, was in a sad state, non compos erectus, I guess you could say.
Maybe it was because of the ringtail radio station or that monkey or the sad truth that once I got inside, I was completely sober. But despite the fact that the show was well-played, and well-engineered, with no glaring mistakes of performance or of sound, I left the show a little bit annoyed.
I think it was mostly the lighting. The band had a huge glitzy sign that swung forward at louder moments, practically illuminating the entire hall in faceted diamond light, and the whole thing looked and felt so Hollywood and so mechanical to me. It sure as fuck didn't feel like the Psychedelic Furs, who had always seemed much darker, much smokier, much more noir than all that gaudy rockstar bullshit.
I think Richard Butler will tell you now that Midnight to Midnight was the closest his band came to a sellout album, and would agree if you told him the album was his band's most blatant attempt to enter the mainstream. And I guess I just found some measure of offense in the way that the lighting and the stage show were so blatantly mainstream, as well. I was, like, I'm not sure who told these guys they were stars, but . . . .
Anyway, the Culture Room, while having made some improvements over the past few years, is still a hot and sweaty dive and a major fire trap, to boot. Maybe a better name for the band I'll be seeing tonight would be "The Butler Brothers Plus a Few Guys Who Played On Midnight to Midnight." But let's not quibble. If I can be pardoned for reaching back into my past, three quarters of the reason I'm taking the plunge this eve is that I'm hoping maybe tonight I'll see the Psychedelic Furs as they should be seen.
The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk Talk - Dumb Waiters. mp3
246 kbps VBR mp3, up for six weeks
File Under: Concerts That Rastro Went To