Photos by Chris Gray
David Bowie will always be the Thin White Duke, so maybe Peter Murphy can be the Thin White Count. He doesn't make a bad Bowie either, closing Thursday's encore with a plodding cover of "Be My Wife" from Low. Murphy's voice is so deep it almost penetrates your brain subliminally, and his three-piece band (Murphy occasionally strapped on a 12-string acoustic guitar, which made him look oddly like Elvis) backed him with a low-pitched, heavy sound that was more grind than Goth.
Some of Thursday's creatures of the night stepping out for a smoke.
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There were occasional more tender moments - flowers among the tombstones, if you will - none moreso than a beautiful solo acoustic pairing of Deep's "I'll Fall With Your Knife" with Bauhaus' signature song "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Likewise, when he covered Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" effectively a cappella, he managed to do justice to a song already defined twice over, first by author Trent Reznor and then by Johnny Cash. He covered himself, after a fashion, tossing in Bauhaus' - supposedly the band is on one of its indefinite hiatuses - "She's In Parties" and whichever song from this year's Go Away White uses the album title as its refrain.
Opener Ali Eskandarian played a bizarre hybrid of Islamic prayer chants, Middle Eastern melodies, electronic squall and Violent Femmes blues.
The rest of the set was dominated by snaky, sexual rock similar to the Cramps, Stooges or Gun Club that also flirted with metal in patches. This sound hit its zenith on Murphy's 1990 hit "Cuts You Up," which wouldn't have sounded out of place in a strip club. (Pity Velvet Revolver broke up; it would make a perfect cover for them.) Other tribally paced songs like "Tuvola" "Deep Ocean, Black Sea" and "I Will Fall" likewise were a stark memory jog on how influential Murphy and Bauhaus have been on modern rock, as well as how potent a performer Murphy remains. - Chris Gray