Peter Murphy - O2 Academy, Islington
Peter Murphy has released nine solo albums to date but he’s more widely known as the front man for the UK post-punk/gothic rock band Bauhaus. The group formed at the end of the 70s and became cult favourites when their lengthy debut single ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ showed up in August 1979.
Bauhaus released four studio albums in the 80s, with their third The Sky’s Gone Out catapulted to a number 4 chart position in the UK, thanks to their top twenty single – a cover of Bowie.’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’, a track which also saw them take to the stage of Top Of The Pops for the first time. The band split up in 1983 but have reformed on a couple of occasions, playing the Resurrection Tour in 1998 and reforming for a longer period from 2005, with the group undertaking a lengthy jaunt around the world, with an new studio album Go Away White appearing in 2008.
Things have been quiet on the Bauhaus front since then but Murphy has decided to put his solo career on hold for a bit to celebrate the band’s 35th anniversary with a tour performing tracks from the band. It’s 35 years since the group formed and nearly 32 years since I first saw them live, as Google tells me it was in September 1981 at Edinburgh Nite Club during their first album tour. I was also lucky enough to see them in the same city at Coasters the following year (with the glorious Southern Death Cult supporting) and caught a reunion show in Brixton in 2006, so was looking forward to Peter’s performance at the capital’s Islington Academy as it would give me the chance to hear several 'Raves from the grave' in a live setting again.
The show was packed with Bauhaus classics and after a slightly downbeat opening really came to life when 'Double Dare''s foghorn-sounding guitar intro struck up, heralding the start of a tumultuous three song salvo from debut album In The Flat Field, closely followed by the title track and 'God In An Alcove'. Peter and his band expertly tore their way through a variety of album tracks throughout their set but it was the singles that the audience really roared their approval for, with 'Kick In The Eye', 'The Passion Of Lovers', an impromptu 'Lagartija Nick', 'She's In Parties' (with an extended dub section) and set closer 'Ziggy Stardust' all captivating the capacity crowd.
The appearance of Bauhaus's first single "Bela Lugosi's Dead' was an obvious set highlight for the majority of fans in the Academy but to be honest I've never been that fond of it, so reserved my complete adoration for the live rendition of follow up single 'Dark Entries' as its full on energy just blew me away completely, even though Peter had a tiny strop during it due to some technical issue!
Another memorable moment was the arrival of 'Spirit' from The Sky's Gone Out. It's another of my favourite single's from the band and saw the singer taking to the melodica, an instrument he'd played a few times throughout the set alongside the guitar. The track ends with its magnificent "We love our audience" refrain and it was very apparent during the show that this was true as Peter seemed extremely grateful for the crowd's support, doing his utmost to perform to every person in the room, taking his time throughout the set to include the fans in the venue's upper level who were hanging on his every word up in the balcony.
Mr Murphy's Bauhaus set produced one of my gigs of the year but it's also got me interested in investigating his solo career a bit more thoroughly. Peter has a new album in the pipeline entitled Lion so I'll be sure to give it a spin when it hits the stores.