Peter Murphy, La Zona Rosa, March 29

Live Shots

Peter Murphy

La Zona Rosa, March 29

Ah, the children of the night. Still making such sweet music. La Zona Rosa made a delicious dungeon last Wednesday, as several hundred Central Texans -- many clad in Forbidden Fruit's finest -- crawled out of their crypts to commune with undead rock shaman Peter Murphy. But while the audience was Victorian London meets SNL's "Goth Talk," onstage it was more like Necro for Pyros, as Murphy's formidable band supplied enough muscle and kick to wake the deceased. Drummer Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets) and bassist Eric Avery (ex-Jane's Addiction, still shirtless) immediately locked into a wicked pulse on the opening "Final Solution," plowing six-foot-deep furrows for Porno for Pyros guitarist Peter diStefano's flangey wash of T. Rex squall and Murphy's room-filling, deceptively melodious baritone. Electric pink lights accentuated the fleet, Poguesy "The Scarlet Thing in You" as Murphy's "long-lost ocean wave of light" crested in an anthemic chorus. This other thin white duke struck an appropriate heron's pose for "Wild Birds," the bone-white spotlight throwing his Munchian face into sharp relief as Haskins' driving AC/DC drums steamrolled behind him. A Celtic/Middle Eastern female vocal sample spliced into an Enigmatic garden of lolling, chanty club beats highlighted "Subway," before the over-the-top powerock returned in the pounding percussive waves of "Deep Ocean Vast Sea." The nautical vibe continued with the crowd-pleasing lurch of "I'll Fall With Your Knife," improbably approximating calypso as Murphy's vocals spread out like a Caribbean hammock over diStefano's stuttery riff. Later left alone onstage with an acoustic guitar, Murphy delivered a spare, ominous "A Strange Kind of Love." That was as close as the one-time Bauhaus frontman came to echoing his former group; not that the flatfield of fans minded at all -- confirmed when the band returned and lit into the lush strum of "Cuts You Up," still Murphy's post-"Bela Lugosi" calling card. As this paler doppleganger of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" swept over the crowd, Doug DeAngelis' sticky synth-viola yielding to the vast "oooohhhhs" and "la-da-da-da-das" of the Simple Mindsian climax, La Zona Rosa became a club transfigured. Faces that might normally have difficulty cracking a smile upon the birth of their first child lit up like torches, as many a ebony-togged moper was dancing like it was a special "Hey, Remember the Eighties?" edition of MTV's Global Groove. Could it be that Goths just wanna have fun?

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