SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., March 27, 2009
Peter MurphyElysium, March 19
The former goth godhead and current vamp-in-residence for Turkey may be sporting a bit of a paunch these days, but his multioctave pipes have maintained a darkly golden sheen, surpassing even those of his glam-pop hero, one David Bowie. Murphy's Elysium gig managed barely half the black magic of his Emo's birthday gig last summer – no cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," no a cappella serenading of "Wild Is the Wind," zero Bauhaus – and instead focused almost entirely on recent solo material, including a grimly fiendish version of "Blinded Like Saul" from 2004's Unshattered and the funereal "Secret Silk Society." Questionable stage patter aside, Murphy, bedecked as ever in couture noir, stalked and flailed across the stage, mounting the monitors with a cheer grimace, while guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite, late of the Mission UK, pulled grindingly heavy and distorted notes from his six-stringer that bordered on the industrial. The capacity crowd looked happy enough to see Murphy up close and personal, but it wasn't until the encore that the show caught fire with an incandescent cover of Joy Division's "Transmission": "No language, just sound, that's all we need to know, to synchronize love to the beat of the show." Ian Curtis lives.