Monday, October 23, 2017

Bash & Pop and The Psychedelic Furs

I'm going to try to make this write-up atypically short. Let's see how I do.

So this was a quiet weekend -- just one event, as opposed to the three last weekend. On Saturday night, Denise and I drove into Huntington to see The Psychedelic Furs with a band I never heard of opening, Bash & Pop. Before we went, I was told that Bash & Pop was founded by the guy who fronted The Replacements. Great, I thought, the "That's What I Like About You," guy. Turns out, not so much. That was The Romantics. And now you get an inside look at how my brain works. I have a lot of knowledge about certain '80s bands that I really like, such as Blondie or Eurythmics. But the '80s also had a lot of bands that I really only care about one or two songs from. So obviously, both The Replacements and The Romantics are filed in my head under "3-syllable '80s bands whose name begins with the letter 'R'".

Anyway, Bash & Pop was OK, but they didn't blow me away. They were way more more Americana than I expected -- kind of like a country-ish version of Japandroids. They were definitely OK, but I felt like their sound was more appropriate to open for Poco than for The Furs. The last time I saw the Furs, in Westbury, The Church opened for them, and that was a much better match. Granted, The Church spent a good part of the night fighting with the Westbury Music Fair's sound crew, and with part of the audience, but even that was pretty entertaining.

Bash & Pop had an admittedly hard job -- when their set started, there was only a smattering of people on the floor in the main part of the theater. (We were in the comfy seats upstairs behind the floor, as usual). Lead singer Tommy Stinson appeared to be a little hammered for the entire set, and who could blame him? But the band played hard, and although much of the crowd seemed indifferent, they did win a few people over -- the guy across the aisle from me was bopping like a maniac. And by the end of their (slightly overlong) set, the room had filled out quite a bit, so they got at least some love by the end of the night.

As for The Psychedelic Furs, this was the third time I've seen them. They played with several other '80s acts at a show at Jones Beach a few years ago, and they were alright but not spectacular. Then, at The Westbury Music Fair, they were smoking hot. This set was somewhere in between. Part of it, I think, is that the Westbury Music Fair is a far more intimate setting -- it's smaller, and you're sitting right on top of the band.

This brings me to a quick aside about the Paramount. You've probably noticed, I see more more shows there than anywhere else. It's not because it's my favorite venue -- it's not. It's OK, and the staff there have always been courteous to me. But Huntington is a bit of a haul from Patchogue, and the parking there, especially on a Saturday night, can be a pain in the patooties. And, as I said, the seats are relatively far back -- not as far as I usually sit at Jones Beach, or as far as the seats in The Space in Westbury, but nowhere near as close asthe seats at The Westbury Music Fair or The Boulton Center. But the reason I see more shows at The Paramount than anywhere else -- they get more of the bands I want see, and more consistently, than does any other Long Island venue. They operate at least 3 or 4 nights a week, and get bands of all genres -- in the weeks coming up, they have King Crimson, Howard Jones, Dennis DeYoung, Skid Row, Dee Snider, The Maine (with Night Riots) -- bands from every decade in every style. (And I'm not even talking about their comedy nights). So kudos to them for that -- in the end, I go where the bands I want to see are playing.

Anyway, back to The Psychedlic Furs. I thought that Richard Butler's voice wasn't in its very top form for the show -- not bad, but maybe 90%. But overall, it was a fine night out. They're calling this tour The Singles Tour, and for good reason -- they played every one of their songs that I wanted to hear, including my favorite, "Love My Way," which I consider a perfect '80s song, along with "Heaven", "Heartbreak Beat", "Pretty in Pink", and "Until She Comes," with an encore of "Sister Europe" and "India". (For a full setlist, see

I won't say it was an exciting show, the way the Retro Future show was a few months back. On the dance floor, there was more swaying than out-and-out dancing going on. But don't take that to mean it was in any way disappointing. I found myself in a pleasant, mellow haze all night, with song after song just washing over me. Even the ones I didn't know went down smooth. The show was in every way worth the price of admission.

So that was my Saturday night this week. Hope yours was good too.

Hmm. Not all that short after all, eh?