The Peter Murphy concert was underway at the Town Ballroom Saturday evening, and though not packed, the crowd of die hard fans, young and old, were there enthusiastically watching the man many consider the founder of gothic rock music.
Murphy, the former post-punk Bauhaus frontman, performed a set of haunting solo material as well as some Bauhaus favorites for his fans.
Watching Murphy perform was like watching a 21st century Dracula. It was a casual concert, with no theatrics, crazy effects or lighting but his graceful swagger added drama to even the simplest of movements and a creepy haunting to all his words. Murphy managed to capture the crowd with calm negligence, not really addressing them much or engaging them but keeping their eyes glued to him and the bodies in the back in a trance like dance.
Murphy’s voice, at the age of 56, is still excellent. He managed to sing his new material, written in a higher than normal voice for him, as well as his older material with no difficulty. He seamlessly switched from one to another.
Although Murphy did have a stagehand bring a music stand out for him for his new songs. His latest album, “Lion,” was improvised by Murphy in just a few short studio days and Murphy had to start memorizing his songs once he was about to begin the tour.
The show opened with Murphy performing “Hang Ups,” the first track as well as single off of “Lion.” The choice was perfect. “Hang Ups” is like the slow, tense build up you hear right before all hell breaks lose. Kind of like last week in Buffalo when we all desperately were waiting for the rain to come pouring down.
At some point Murphy pulled out a melodica for a few songs such as the Bauhaus hit “She’s in Parties,” which was greeted with “much applause. very excitement” according to my notes. It was a hauntingly slow and brooding choice to add to the general brooding vibe of the evening.
One of the great aspects about this evening was the age variations amongst the crowd. Though predominantly older there was still a solid showing of twenty somethings out there appreciating the previous generation’s music. Just one more thing for the “gothfather” to be proud of.