Peter Murphy and the Music of Bauhaus at Grand Central Miami, April 30

Photo by Ian Witlen
Peter Murphy
Grand Central
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Better than: Dalis Car live.

It was nice seeing Peter Murphy channel some of the primal strangeness of Bauhaus, even though all his original cohorts were probably somewhere in England, sipping their tea and not giving a shit.

The music will exist, and it came quite alive on the Grand Central stage last night, thanks to a self-deprecating and enthusiastic performance by Murphy and his longtime backing trio.

See also:
-Peter Murphy at Grand Central: The 42-Photo Slideshow
-Peter Murphy Talks Meth Arrest and 35 Years of Bauhaus: "I Was Never a Punk"
-Peter Murphy: "Bauhaus Was the Seminal Moment in That Time; Joy Division Was Not"

Photo by Ian Witlen

My Jerusalem warmed up the air with a stalking sort of sound that pandered to the gothic atmosphere. Frontman and guitarist Jeff Klein sang in a growling baritone about "creatures of the night" and a "blood red moon," and it all felt a tad cliché. At least by its fourth track, the band from Austin came into its own with a driving sound that finally got the crowd moving and one guy started fist-pumping. Keyboardist Jon Merz would take extra guitar duties and horns. He even performed a trombone solo on the final number.

Photo by Ian Witlen

After a pause for a change of equipment on stage, Murphy's backing band (guitarist Mark Thwaite, bassist Jeff Shartoff, and drummer Nick Troy Lucero) walked on and picked up their instruments to polite applause. The DJ faded out the Cure's "Just Like Heaven," which no one in the room seemed to care to dance to. And with that 1987 bastard goth hit single fading, here was some true gothic music: the reigning overlord, Peter Murphy. He walked out to a roar of applause in a blue leather jacket that looked like the top part of a stillsuit from David Lynch's Dune.

Photo by Ian Witlen

To the strum of an acoustic and the thud of the drum and tambourine, Murphy sang the entrancing chant of "King Volcano" backed by Thwaite and Shartoff: "Overshadowed by her sister/Pretty girl would scream/King volcano gave me numbers/King volcano is clean." The slow fade-in of the song on record was replaced by on/off vocals and a microphone lacking dynamic range. The song ended on a rougher note with a long screech of feedback that ruined what would have made for an interesting opening. The later-era, more melodious Bauhaus period song segued to a similar moment, another acoustic guitar-led piece, "Kingdom's Coming."

Photo by Ian Witlen

The second song reeked of desolation and ruin in its own somber way. Murphy's voice sounded well-preserved as he crooned, "Madness in the wind's got something to say/It ripped you apart/It will always be that way" before shifting to a chattering that ended with a creepy, brief a capella phrase, "Sky will open," delivered as a deadpan statement. Next, the rumble of one of the more aggressive Bauhaus songs shook the stage: "Double Dare." From crooner to throat-lacerating snarler, Murphy's voice was out to do justice to these sumptuous songs. His voice remained downright vicious for a rollicking "In the Flat Field" that followed.

Location Info


Grand Central

697 N. Miami Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Music

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