Jan. 12th, 2013

sharplittleteeth: (Default)
The weird disconnect of an old act touring: the audience screaming "We love you!" to Peter Murphy, then booing him when he finished with one of his solo songs instead of a Bauhaus single.

Now in his mid-fities, Murphy is now longer the emaciated glam-goth androgyne he was in his Bauhaus days. He hair is thinning. He has a paunch. And, as he exclaimed while unbuttoning his shirt to show us, "I have tits!"

But he still has the charisma. Arch, witty, theatrical, he pouted and pirouetted in a way that was both ridiculous and magnificent in it's swaggering-punk-glam-fuck-you-ness. He was cultured, dropping asides about Istanbul where he now lives. And he was funny. "Bela Luigi's Dead?" he joked. "Bela Lugosi's Dad? I'm dad, I'm dad, I'm dad?"

I was never a deep Bauhaus fan, and I'm not that familiar with his solo work, so I can't really tell which songs he played. He dropped a verse from 'Bela' into one of his solo songs, a slow acoustic number with a keening Turkish influence. My personal highlights were the songs I did recognise: Bauhaus's dubby 'She's in Parties', his shimmering 'Cuts You Up', and his dirty, rocking cover of Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust'.

For an encore, the band came out, lay down on the stage, and played a mesmerising Middle Eastern influenced drone. It was beautiful, just beautiful, and spoiled only by the yobs in the crowd yelling out "We can't see you!" and then booing after the band left the stage and they realised that no, he wasn't going to play 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' in full.

Yes, 'Bela' is an iconic song. And yes, it would have been fantastic to hear it live. But also: fuck you, audience. Peter Murphy is not your performing monkey. Don't yell out how much you love him, then boo him because you didn't get to relive a moment from your mopey little goth days.

And that is why I enjoyed this concert so much. Because Peter Murphy embodies that defiant disregard for the audience. He does as he wishes. He is sublime, and he is punk, and as he joked while the audience was reaching out to grope him: "I'm more beautiful than Bowie."

Which isn't actually true. But we loved him for saying it.

I realised I haven't really talked about the music. Which is a pity, because even though I didn't know most of the songs, the music was excellent. The band were tight. The sound was clear. And Murphy's voice was fantastic: strong and rich and disciplined. A. said afterwards the music would have been perfect for a performance at the Arts Centre.

I tried out my new HearPlugs at the show, too. The sound was slightly muffled and lost some tone while wearing them, but it was much clearer and richer than the smothered-with-cheap-mattresses sound you get with basic foam earplugs. And today my ears are free of either ringing or pain.


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