Review: Peter Murphy at Bodega

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013
peter murphy

ALIVE AND KICKING: Ex Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy's Wellington show proved that the songs stand up. His rendition of Bela Lugosi's Dead was epic and masterful.

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Peter Murphy
Bodega, Wellington, December 15

Peter Murphy was not in town to plug next year's new solo album, nor the more than half dozen that have proceeded it. No, the "Godfather of Goth" was in town to perform an all-Bauhaus set.

He moved through songs from classic albums, In the Flat Field and Burning from the Inside, strutting and posturing, still enigmatic, alluring – and if on the opening King Volcano there were any fears that the voice might not quite have the same amount of guts to it, well, that was more a case of Murphy wanting the sound mix right. By the time of Double Dare and beyond he was soaring, that proud baritone sounding regal, at times quite phenomenal.

It was nostalgia for those who were there and the many more who weren't but have been there ever since, remaking their own version of goth music, of the sound and feel of the late 70s/early 80s era. And Murphy, in one of a handful of funny, memorable audience-banter asides, acknowledged this. On that level he knew this was something of a cash-in, a chance to draw out the audience with the promise of hearing the old material.

But the songs stand up – they really stand up, the towering Bela Lugosi's Dead, always likely to be a centrepiece within the set, was epic, masterful.

The gig played out just as shows in this venue by Jello Biafra and Killing Joke have done this year – packed with fans, there to celebrate, to engage in a ritual of sorts, hopeful, expectant. So Murphy prowled and finger-pointed, he offered a near-wink at times, he chuckled and jokingly disowned his legacy, he added guitar and melodica at times, but for the most part he stood strong with the capable band behind him issuing the sound.

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- The Dominion Post

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