Thursday, April 21, 2016

Peter Murphy at le Poisson Rouge

Born near Northampton, England, and raised in nearby Wellingborough, Peter Murphy came to fame as the vocalist of the goth rock band Bauhaus from 1978 to 1983. Although the band gained a cult following and influenced many later musicians, Bauhaus did not achieve commercial success in its first life span; reunion tours in 1998 and again from 2005 to 2008 were more successful. As a solo artist, Murphy released nine studio albums between 1988 and 2014. In 2015 he released a remix album and a live album. Since 1992, Murphy has lived with his Turkish wife in Istanbul, Turkey.

Murphy brought his "Stripped" tour to le Poisson Rouge tonight and, unlike the more flamboyant Bauhaus tours, for a fair part of the show he sat on a stool between bassist/violinist Emilio Zef China and guitarist John Andrews. Occasionally Murphy played an acoustic guitar as well. Drawing mostly from his solo albums with just a couple of Bauhaus covers, his baritone voice embodied a dark, mysterious tone. As promised, the songs were stripped of many musical layers and in certain cases were reworked thoroughly. The songs were no longer rock, in favor of acoustic interpretations where dynamics were nuanced and moods were paler. The jangly folk approach was mellow and melodic, enchanting die-hard fans, but perhaps not winning him new fans.

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