It was a historic night for pogo-ers in Ft. Lauderdale. The historic Himarshee district was packed for a Tuesday night, September 29th, and the front of Revolution was lined with large tour buses. The Psychedelic Furs with the Happy Mondays and guest Islands had arrived. It has been several years since The Furs last toured and with a lineup change (the glorious John Ashton was replaced on guitar by Rich Good), and an added sax player we were ready to see if they would have the same energy we all know and love.
Starting off the night was Canada’s Islands who lived up to their reputation for catchy pop songs and fantastic energy. Singer Nick Thornton (formerly of The Unicorns) danced his way through the energetic set. Playing their songs Swans (Life After Death), and Rough Gem they had the Floridian crowds dancing. Not being on the length of the tour, the band made it apparent why they were chosen for this leg of it. Nick’s Elvis-like swaying was only hampered by his clothing choice.
The Happy Mondays are a classic group that, sadly, hasn’t played live much in recent years. Playing hits such as “Kinky Afro”, “Monster”, and “Reverend Black Grape” they flew through their set with the crowd cheering wildly. Singer Shaun Ryder kept his finger in his ear the entire set making us wonder if he was trying to stay in tune and a show-stealing new female vocalist (replacing Rowetta) paraded across the stage keeping energies high. It was a miss without Paul Ryder and Bez, but with such an iconic Madchester band you take what you can get. The sound was great but you have to wonder if all the drugs and alcohol abuse managed to catch up with Mr. Ryder since he pretty much stood in one spot and didn’t move too much.
After a 40-minute intermission waiting on The Psychedelic Furs the curtains withdrew to “Love My Way”. Almost everyone in the room was screaming and dancing and Richard Butler gave them the show. Apparently the happiest frontman on the road, Mr. Butler danced and swayed and jumped and bounced through their extended set. Hard to believe that they opened with their probably best known – if not best loved – song, they didn’t end the hits there. Following with “Heartbeat”, “Like a Stranger”, “President Gas” and on to the beautiful “Ghost In You”, they also threw in “Pretty In Pink”. The keys were not as noticable, which was a disapointment with some of their songs known for synth riffs: it was loudly replaced with sax. John Ashton was sorely missed but Rich Good had some moves of his own. Nothing was second to the beaming, bouncing Butler. He didn’t stop dancing aside to shake hands, many many hands with the fanatic fans below. With a Bowie-esque style and vocals as revelant today as in the ’80s, it made the show worth the ticket.