Music » Livewire

Peter Murphy

Tuesday, May 17, at the Odeon.

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Not even Anne Rice could have penned a character like Peter Murphy. When he and the rest of Bauhaus emerged for a one-off reunion gig at the recent Coachella Festival, the willowy frontman sang the band's undead slow dance, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," while hanging upside down like a bat. The 47-year-old's stunt fulfilled the vampiric fantasies of many a black-shrouded fan in attendance, and also alluded to the theatrical flamboyance that's helped Murphy sustain a long solo career. After Bauhaus fractured in 1983 -- leaving behind a legacy streaked with black eyeliner and shadowy glampunk -- Murphy recorded one disc with the short-lived Dali's Car before toning down the post-punk harshness on lush modern-rock hits like "Cuts You Up" and "The Scarlet Thing in You." Last year's Unshattered was considerably less heavy than Murphy's voice might suggest -- his velvet-lined vocals still make anything he sings sound deathly serious -- but retained flashes of his morose days. Elegant piano and strings make "The First Stone" required listening for dying one's hair black, while "Blinded Like Saul," a swirling slow grind, was co-written by Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins.

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