The founding father of the post-punk goth movement took the stage looking more debonair than vampiric in his black, printed blazer. The crowd of about 250 darkly decorated fans kept an attentive, supportive formation in front of the stage throughout the former Bauhaus vocalist’s 90-minute set.
Murphy began in his distinct baritone and a deep growl on “Velocity Bird” from his newest album, Ninth. The majority of songs performed were also from that upbeat 2011 LP, but the crowd reaction spiked as Murphy peppered the set with older fan favorites such as “I’ll Fall With Your Knife.” Murphy took over guitar as his guitarist took a violin solo on “A Strange Kind of Love.” Then the crowd swooned during the 1990 hit, “Cuts You Up,” the biggest single of his solo career. Murphy captivated to the end, especially during “The Prince & Old Lady Shade” when he held up his delicate hands and poetically blocked the spotlight from his face. After a 14-song run, the quartet performed a three-song encore that included an emotive, well-received version of “Deep Ocean Vast Sea.”
Aside from the speakers emitting flinch-inducing feedback at times, our only complaint—and the fans who chanted “We want Bela!” would agree—is that Murphy did not perform “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” ★★★☆☆