London Roundhouse 12.10.19
Saturday night. Third gig night in a row and we are down in London at the Roundhouse for the finale of the UK leg of the Psychedelic Furs tour. This was a special one. We did have a focus on the support act tonight and it unfolded into a classic one.
An early start at the ‘Sir Richard Steele, powered by the Intoxicologist’ pub, just up the hill from Chalk Farm tube – tapas a good option – plenty of it – in case the pub’s name wasn’t mouthful enough.
We needed to be at the Roundhouse in time for the Wendy James Band soundcheck – booked as an extra. Passes issued at the stage door and Wendy’s tour man Ollie took us in. The band had about an hour or so to sort out and settle the sounds echoing around the empty, hard floored restored engine shed – this beautiful restored engine shed – with eight blokes in their 50s (predictably) looking on absorbed.
I find it fascinating, perhaps because I can’t play a note on anything and admire what performers can do. What an opportunity and a chance to get my Transvision Vamp vinyl – albums Pop Art (1988 peaked at no.4 in the UK chart) and Velveteen (a no.1 album in 1989 ) – signed just as the doors open and early birds flood in.
We went to the upstairs side bar to see what the view was like – good – more open and less equipment and speakers in the way than our previous visit for The Sisters of Mercy. It is in line with the stage so an unusual view.
No sign of the Furs anywhere, until saxophonist Mars Williams wanders through.
Wendy James Band
Wendy James Band site gives more detailed background to recent activity:
The band are a great collaboration, together for the tour and my second chance to see them on it. (Link to Portsmouth gig below)
So much tighter this time which Rupert from the band confirmed later – it just gets better through the tour which generally you would expect, barring upsets or technical problems.
James Scavnulos, the big man in the pink suit tonight on drums, I later learned, drums with Nick Cave and has played with The Cramps and Lydia Lunch. All the band have some pink on to be pretty in this evening.
The set is a fairly even mix of material from Transvision Vamp, Racine (Wendy’s band after TV) and newer solo material. They started with the Holly and the Italians song which Wendy made more famous with Transvision Vamp, ‘Tell that Girl to Shut Up’ – great start – on through ‘I Want Your Love’ ‘Bad Valentine’ and the last one is ‘Baby I Don’t Care’ (Reached No.3 in the 1989 UK singles chart) and the crowd are loving it. Wendy’s loving it shouting “I want more, I want more” at the end. She’ll be back with a new album early next year. This support slot opportunity with The Furs looks like a huge success to me.
The Psychedelic Furs
This was a top tour ending show for the originally London based Furs. It must feel like a homecoming at this classic rejuvenated venue.
Despite plans to move from our balcony side bar vantage point we didn’t see the need. Sound was good and we got a different perspective, even seeing into the backstage marshalling area before the bands walk up the steps to the stage.
The set was virtually identical to the Portsmouth one I blogged about earlier on the tour. ‘Sister Europe’, President Gas’ and ‘Heaven’ the winners on my card, surpassed by only the fantastic ‘India’ to finish….was that the finish?
….but that’s not it. With passes from The Wendy James Band soundcheck we asked if we could move over to the other bar where we could see the bands gathering – no problem. We mingled, beaming smiles and wide-eyed. Fantastic. When you get a chance to drop in on a party with bands you’ve watched, listened to and respected for decades it’s just going to be a great night.
Caught up with most of the Psychedelic Furs with some party style polite manoeuvring.😎
The Butlers started life not far from where I grew up, and I let Richard know I was born in the same hospital (he’s older than me so no chance we were switched at birth mum).
….yes we even managed to convince original Furs guitarist (sorry I didn’t realise at first) Roger Morris to take part in the lookalike competition with my mate Dave.
We had a cracking time – hope no one noticed too much. Can’t thank The Wendy James Band enough and cheers for the chat the insights and intros.
(Pics after show by Dave/ frankly anyone passing.)
Next stop The 100 Club, Oxford Street for Spizz, next weekend.