Saturday, July 13, 2013 (View the full slideshow.)
On Saturday night, goth's godfather, Peter Murphy, brought his Mr. Moonlight tour to the Crescent Ballroom, celebrating 35 years of Bauhaus, one of the biggest names in early gothic rock. The band formed in '78 and saw their first breakup in 1983, with members going on to do a variety of projects like Dali's Car, Tones on Tail, and Love and Rockets.
Murphy himself released his first solo record, Should the World Fail to Fall Apart, in 1986, and proceeded to have a prolific solo career that doesn't seem to have an end in sight.
Before the show, for what seemed like forever -- because it was at least 45 minutes, not just me exaggerating as an impatient and whiny fan -- the crowd was treated to a short video preview of five rough tracks from Murphy's upcoming solo release, produced by Martin Glover, a.k.a. Youth from the band Killing Joke.
Finally, Murphy and the rest of his lineup took the stage. And Peter Murphy walking onstage was all it took for fans to be hooked and hanging on every word, every note.
The band opened up the 16-song (plus encores) show with "King Volcano," from 1983's Burning from the Inside. The song's beautiful guitar, mixed with deep primal drum hits, provided a hypnotic entry point for Murphy's awaited vocals. It seems that Murphy's opening the tour with this one -- a refreshing, unexpected choice.
He probably could have read highlights from a Target ad and no one would have complained, but, alas, he took us on the much-anticipated Bauhaus tour, his vocals and presence gaining power with each turn of the electric clock, clock, clock (it's a song reference, play along.)
As he worked through the band's catalog, playing songs like "A God in an Alcove," "Boys," "Silent Hedges," and "The Spy in the Cab," the nostalgia and personal importance of select songs were evident on many smiling, dreamy-eyed faces.
After that aforementioned group of tunes, Murphy threw in the slow and lovely, "Strange Kind of Love," from his late 80's solo release, Deep, and no one was the least bit offended that he took a brief diversion from the Bauhaus train.
Murphy, who lives in Turkey and had just flown in, acknowledged his jet lag a couple of times during the set, but it didn't seem to get him down. He was charming, a little sassy, and made a point to do a lot of handholding with those within reach.
He also managed to squeeze in some of his signature moves, offering a little sexy swagger to the set. As always, Murphy had a team of excellent musicians on board, the rapport organically comfortable, natural. After sliding in a tune from his solo release, Murphy slipped on a pair of glasses to get on an effects box and crank up some sounds for "Bela Lugosi's Dead," probably Bauhaus's best-known song -- the one that really emphasized the goth aspect of the band and reached those who might not know many deeper tracks.
For "Stigmata Martyr," Murphy grabbed an electric guitar and noised it up a bit, keeping it strapped on for the always exciting, driving "Dark Entries." Last on the list, prior to the encores, was a cover of "Severance" by Dead Can Dance.
Lots of screams were unleashed, along with some bizarre, orchestra style conducting by the guy next to me who I dubbed "jazz hands," before the band came back out for another round. The five-song encore set included "Burning from the Inside," and "Hollow Hills" before wrapping it up with two energetic-as-hell covers the band mastered, T-Rex's "Telegram Sam," and Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust."
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Peter Murphy at Crescent Ballroom. Personal Bias: May or may not have cried at a Peter Murphy show as a teen. The Crowd: Diehard fans, with an emphasis on old Goths all grown up, old punks all grown up, and old '80s alterna-dance-clubbers all grown up; less eyeliner, more comfortable shoes. Overheard in the Crowd: "I've been a fan since fill-in-the-blank." Better Than: Not being there.
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Set List: King Volcano Kingdom's Coming Double Dare In the Flat Field A God in an Alcove Boys Silent Hedges Kick in the Eye The Spy in the Cab A Strange Kind of Love Bela Lugosi's Dead The Passion of Lovers She's in Parties Stigmata Martyr Dark Entries Severance Encore: Burning from the Inside Hollow Hills Spirit Telegram Sam Ziggy Stardust