by KAREN PONZIO | Jan 9, 2023
As the first full moon of 2023 hung high in the January sky above Best Video, another first was happening inside: beloved New Haven band The Furors had returned, playing its first live show since February 2020. This welcoming back filled every chair of the performance space with the smiling faces of longtime fans and friends who were ecstatic to hear the legendary local duo tear through their extensive catalogue of catchy and memorable music.
Hank Hoffman — former executive director of Best Video, who joked that he is now a “retired senior citizen” — introduced the band as “New Haven legends” to the bustling crowd.
“Most of you have seen them a lot of times,” Hoffman said. “We’re lucky they’re playing again and playing here.”
Without hesitation the band — Derek Holcomb on guitar and vocals and Tom Dans on drums and vocals — launched right into two songs from their album Completely Furious, “I Went Out at Night” and “A Pretty Picture,” much to the delight of the crowd, who all appeared to be smiling from the first note all the way to the last.
“I don’t know if I am ready for the rush of serotonin from this,” musician Lys Guillorn had said to me and artist Craig Gilbert before the start of the show. They were spot on, for each song seemed to incite its own little rush. With each song you wondered if it was possible to smile wider and be happier than you already were.
When the Furors followed up with “I Kissed Your Wife” — with the lyrics “You’re my best friend. I kissed your wife tonight, and I’ll be back again” — many in the crowd laughed out loud.
The lyrics to Furors songs are funny, smart, and pointed, but the band is equally loved for their instrumentals, which meld punk, pop, rock, country, and the blues together, often echoing back to the classics from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. With their multiple changes in sound within one song and bursts of energetic joy The Furors may be a genre unto themselves.
In addition to well-loved songs as “Daytime Nighttime,” “Shake Yourself Loose,” and “Wait for the Night,” the band also performed a few of their newer songs, such as “Johnny Oh,” “Kicking and Screaming,” “Go Smile in Texas,” and, for the first time live, “Scarred for Life.” Through it all, Holcomb and Dans constantly changed it up, adding harmonica, maracas, flutes, and tambourine, and sharing harmonies. Holcomb even danced around during the instrumental breaks.
Banter was kept to a minimum; even the crowd barely spoke, though occasionally someone would shout out a request or say “I love that one.” One audience member even yelled “play that one again!” after one of the songs. Guillorn leaned over at one point between songs and said “it’s always like hearing the songs for the first time,” and Gilbert and I agreed.
The band seemed to be done after the uproarious “Hey, Joni,” which saw more than a few audience members moving along. (In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit it was incredibly difficult to not throw my reporting gear aside during this show and dance through it all, even the slower ones, but I committed to it for you, dear reader.) When they were done, they received a standing ovation.
“One more,” someone shouted.
“We do actually have one more,” Holcomb said. That one more was “A Thing for Blondes,” which you can see the video for below. Note the vivacity and keep in mind this is the final song of a 20-song set. That is what The Furors live are all about: creating an elevated and elated energy level that keeps buzzing and keeps you buzzing long after the show is over.
Best Video kept buzzing after the show was over, as a majority of the crowd stayed and chatted with the band and each other. It seemed as though everyone had a story about The Furors, as if they were a constant in the ever changing yet ever-present local scene. It may have been a return, but it also felt like they had never left.’
Read at New Haven Independent