12. - 18. April 1990



Text by Brian Gomez





Phantasy Theatre

April 3

It was a sell-out crowd that greeted Peter Murphy‘s third Cleveland appearance at the Phantasy last week Tuesday. They were treated to a well-balanced and well-paced show by a maturing artist and an accomplished, cohesive band. It was a solid, near- flawless performance. If any nit-picking can be advanced, it‘s that Murphy‘s set seemed a little too rehearsed.

Murphy‘s group, the Hundred Men, have been playing with him for over three years now, and their tightness, at times, made it seem like the album was being played over the sound system. Eddie Branch‘s thundering contributions on bass stood out most, propelling such songs as “The Line Between The Devil‘s Teeth“ and “Roll Call“ with a heftier kick than found on the DEEP album.

Guitarist Pete Bonas stepped out for a few sinuous solos. He added some extra intensity to “Seven Veils“ and the two cover songs per formed, Iggy Pop‘s “Funtime“ and Magazine‘s “The Light Pours Out Of Me.“ Bonas also joined Murphy in donning acoustic guitars for sparse but striking renditions of “Strange Kind Of Love“ and “Marlene Dietrich‘s Favourite Poem,“ both from the third and latest Murphy solo album, DEEP.

Murphy varied the pace smoothly, concentrating on the wide- ranging moods of DEEP and tossing in a few songs from his previous al bum, LOVE HYSTERIA. His often haunting vocal bent was in fine form, whether crooning low and gravely on “Cuts You Up“ or sliding into a singing style not far removed from an Indian peyote chant during the chorus of “Seven Veils.“ He certainly showed his versatility.

Best of all, Murphy showed a real command of the stage. He‘s a riveting frontman, staring off steel eyed and striding slowly as if pulled by an unseen force. “His Circle And Hers Meet“ was but one of several songs where Murphy used his lighting well by sliding in and out of the path of cold white beams. On all counts, Murphy has arrived as a consummate performer. Still, he might do well to revert back to the days when he didn‘t seem so concerned about reproducing near-perfect renditions of his recorded work.

Nine Inch Nails made quite the triumphant return to their hometown. Vocalist Trent Reznor and his three mates had the jam-packed crowd up and swaying to their crunching waves of sound. The industrial dance ruckus of “Down In It“ and “Head Like A Hole,“ from the NIN debut album, PRETTY HATE MACHINE even purred some slow motion slamming in the sardine pit down front. NIN had some sloppy moments, but they had the combustible spark that Murphy and company couldn‘t come up with. Next time Nine Inch Nails come back to town, they should be headlining avenue this size.

Brian Gomez