Age, Beauty, Mortality: Peter Murphy

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By Xin-Rui Lee, Staff Writer

Ever wondered what happened to those hardcore goth kids of the 1980’s? Where did those rebellious young’uns with their theatrically heavy make up, extensive all black wardrobe, and eternally looming cloud of gloom go? Why, 30 years later, they all ended up at an intimate Peter Murphy show from his “Stripped” tour, of course. It was one of those nights where crowd watching was almost as entertaining as the show itself, and props must especially be given to the woman in a delicate lacey floor length gown, with a low neckline and cinched waist (think Morticia from the Addams family).

Most famously known as the lead singer and frontman of goth rock pioneers Bauhaus, Murphy has amassed a number of cult-like loyal followers. When Bauhaus split in 1983, Murphy went solo and enjoyed a decently successful career that saw him release nine full-length studio albums, the most recent “Lion” being released in 2014. When we caught him at his sold out show last Thursday night at (le) Possion Rouge, it was obvious that Murphy had not let go of his dramatic stage antics and goth glam vanity of his youth. (Though it must be said that, given his advancement in years, it did look ever so slightly tired.)

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Striding on stage with a commanding presence and a nonchalant wave, Murphy made as dramatic an entrance as he could manage with such a meager set up, wearing a form-fitting double-breasted suit complete with a glittering white armband. He warms up the crowd with a few lesser-known songs to mild reception, until the audience immediately recognizes the distinctive opening notes of  “All Night Long” from his second and arguably most popular album, “Love Hysteria.” “I can’t even!” someone cries out, sounding very proud of themselves like they’ve just made a very clever millennial joke. (And suddenly I feel all the more younger.)

For his first set of the evening, Murphy touched upon most of his albums spanning his entire career, along with a handful of Bauhaus covers including “Silent Hedges.” Mid-show, Murphy covers David Bowie’s “Bewley Brothers,” equipped with the perfect vocals to do so. Before dedicating his next song to Bowie and Prince, Murphy cameomes across as a bit of a diva when he complains about a guitar volume that hasn’t been turned down although he’s asked for it to be rectified four songs ago. “What the fuck am I, a doorman?” Murphy spits, and even though said in jest, his demeanor made it seem in rather bad taste. Thus ensues a hilarious engagement between Murphy and the sound technician, during which he attempts to pick a fight and insults New Yorkers (all of which was met by gales of laughter from the entire audience). Before the encore, Murphy dedicates his performance of “The Rose” to Bowie and Prince. “Yes…We die,” he says, discreetly categorizing himself together with 2 of the greatest musicians of all time.

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