Starting with his time fronting Bauhaus and continuing with an eclectic, continuously experimental solo career, Peter Murphy is amongst the most influential artists to ever emerge from the left side of the dial. The “Godfather Of Goth” may now be 58-years-old, but he’s never let age suppress his hunger to evolve, as was the case when his “Stripped” tour visited Chicago’s tightly packed Thalia Hall as part of the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CimmFest.org), which runs through April 17.
Though the bare bones tone continued in the encore, alternative classics such as the band’s “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” alongside his own “Cuts You Up” and “I’ll Fall With Your Knife” kicked up the energy a few more notches and had the cult-ish crowd hanging on every last note.
Rather than popping out of coffins or being backed by a brooding band, Murphy completely pared down his outrageous stage presentations and underground sounds with a little help from bassist/violinist Emilio China, guitarist John Andrews and periodic electronic supplementation. In doing so, the headliner/acoustic guitarist showcased an entirely fresh side of a storied career that dates back to the late ‘70s, and even without all the aggressive bells and whistles, suggested the songs are just as capable of speaking for themselves.
The set started out with several solo selections, including “Cascade” and “Marlene Dietrich’s Favourite Poem,” finding the Dracula-styled singer in mostly steady though sometimes slightly weathered delivery. Nonetheless, his passion remained at full tilt even after all these years of entertaining, especially when channeling his primary muse David Bowie during a chilling cover of the obscure “The Bewlay Brothers.”
From there, it was a blend of Bauhaus chestnuts (“Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Silent Hedges”) with newer individual strides (“I Spit Roses,” “Lion”), all of which were welcome additions to this rare organic translation. Though the bare bones tone continued in the encore, alternative classics such as the band’s “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” alongside his own “Cuts You Up” and “I’ll Fall With Your Knife” kicked up the energy a few more notches and had the cult-ish crowd hanging on every last note.