Peter Murphy and David J sold out The Moore on January 20thto an enthusiastic crowd dressed mostly in black and gothic accessories. They were joined by guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite and drummer Marc Slutsky. The tour commemorated the 40th anniversary of Bauhaus’ first album, In the Flat Field, which the band performed in its entirety along with other Bauhaus classics.
Through ominous lighting, vampiric front man Murphy arrived onstage in a worn black sequined jacket, leather-embellished pants, pointy black boots, and ample necklaces. Bassist David J wore fitted black jeans, a shirtless vest and blazer, dress shoes, and (of course) dark sunglasses. Strobes flashed and the band started up “Double Dare.”
Murphy’s powerful baritone vibrato has improved, if anything, throughout his 40+ years of vocals, and tonight held its presence amidst some heavy instrumentation. He has also kept his theatrical flair. On “Dive,” Murphy strutted a subwoofer runway to serenade the audience. He started into “St. Vitus Dance” with a megaphone, until the batteries died and he tossed it backstage with a string of profanities. After “Adrenalin,” he teased an apologetic fan at center stage who didn’t know the lyrics: “You didn’t know the words. … It’s one word, ‘adrenaline!’” “She’s in Parties” was accentuated by his warbling melodica. As bossa-nova clicks and descending bass heralded “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Murphy popped his pointed collar, flung a blood-red scarf around his neck, and stared with piercing eyes. He sang “Oh, Be-la” and extended the mic to the crowd: All three levels of the theater replied “Be-la’s undead.”
Murphy was witty and flirtatious, especially with the many women in the front row. He bemoaned, “Ah, I’m just a pretty face,” pointing out audience members he would hit on, “But I hope somebody hits on me, because I’m living like a bloody nun.”
Fans crowded the stage and waved their fingers near Murphy’s feet. He brushed them off for most of the set, but eventually obliged: “Oh, for f*ck’s sake, just do it. Put your bloody hands on me.” Hands with pointed fingernails complied by petting his legs. Then David J swooped in to grope Murphy’s butt.
Psych-rockers Desert Mountain Tribe opened. During the second song the audio suddenly cut out, but as guitarist Jonty Balls and bassist Matthew Holt were troubleshooting, drummer Frank van der Ploeg struck up a drum solo to whistles and cheers. DMT restarted the tune and played an energetic set, and then returned to sign records onstage.
The show also fell on the evening of the Super Wolf Blood Moon. During the set break, concertgoers went outside to photograph the lunar eclipse and howl at the moon.