Saturday 17 January 2015

Furs and Psychic Markers at The Waiting Room - 14 January 2015


If I arbitrarily designate my base of operations in Luton as the cradle of civilisation, then the Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on a wild and blustery Wednesday night in January seems a long way removed from that cosy centre.

The venue itself is situated in the basement of a busy pub/restaurant that is doing a roaring trade with crowds of young men sporting identikit Edward Lear beards and tall young women clad in black. Kids, eh?

The Waiting room itself is a simple space with benches along the walls. With Spartan décor that is either plain wood or white tiling it resembles a cross between a sauna and a butcher’s shop.

First up are cosmic six piece Psychic Markers. In addition to the usual guitars, bass and drums they have two backing singers who share a microphone while swaying side to side and clutching bottles of beer. They all play in other bands – Grass House, Still Corners and several others. They are here tonight for gentle psychedelic shenanigans.

Band leader Steve Dove has the sniffles, and snuffles disconsolately between songs. The band start off with an instrumental that doesn’t quite work, but the set soon builds a momentum of whirling space rock that enraptures the room.

The vocals are narrated as much as sung and the woozy charm of proceedings sees me turn on, tune in, and stop out for the evening. My colleague wonders if the band should fully embrace their inner Hawkwind and have the backing singers covered only by glitter and paint. This is only a suggestion.

Furs (or F.U.R.S. depending upon which flyer you read) have a weekly residency at this venue throughout January. They are bright and cheerful and showcase the vocals of Elle Wade.

There’s no angle to Furs. They play proper songs with proper verses and catchy choruses and when they have a good time on stage this communicates through to the audience and suffuses us with a warm glow of contentment.

Highlights include ‘Just Kids’ and ‘An Eye on the Vicious’. It’s the kind of smooth music that is sometimes tagged ‘Adult Rock’. And there’s nothing derogatory about that statement.

It’s this spirit of charm and wellbeing that is the band’s main asset and it is not one to be underestimated. We are happy in their company and they make the trip out tonight worthwhile.

And I hold on to that thought as I begin the long slog home.

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