Review / photos: Peter Murphy, She Wants Revenge share a stage at the Ritz Ybor in Tampa
The question to the masses in attendance at The Ritz, Ybor, was ... who is headlining?
Very good question. She Wants Revenge had their own fliers posted with no mention of Murphy. The marque at The Ritz said "She Wants Revenge." But Murphy has influenced so much of the music industry, including She Wants Revenge.
The crowd grew slowly. Openers Hussle Club from New York started the show, but there just weren't enough eyeballs in the room to take advantage of their Gothy dance- and funk-infused sound. They played a quick set, and afterward, like a tide rising slowly, fans piled into the main center stage area. I don't think fans knew until the lights went down, and She Wants Revenge vocalist Justin Warfield took the stage, that the audience knew how the lineup was arranged.
Yes, Peter Murphy was the headliner.
SWR quickly started their set with Sister. Warfield's stage antics are personable and low key. His voice sounded as it does on their CDs, delivering lyrics with a serious demeanor, in a Peter Murphy fashion. Warfield loves his fans, and it is known he loves to play in the Tampa Bay area. This was the second time I've seen SWR, and both times Warfield mentioned how this was one of his favorite cities to play. They continued their set with the next two songs from their 2011 release Valleyheart, Reasons and Up in Flames. After 14 songs, they wrapped their set up with Tear You Apart. Check out their closing song here:
After She Wants Revenge left the stage, I was amazed at the emptiness of the venue. Many people left, and I was curious if fans even knew Peter Murphy was playing next. I could tell by the feel of the crowd that the people who stayed were true Murphy fans, here to see the Godfather of Goth in action.
Murphy was met with loud applause. He opened with a Bauhaus song, The Three Shadows (Part 1). He said little to his fans, instead giving dark stares to the crowd. Next was Velocity Bird and Peace to Each from his new album, Ninth. Wearing his traditional black attire, he moved slowly and deliberately across the stage. He played a historic set, encompassing 24 songs, including a cover of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. He closed with Huuvola (Cascade 1995) and Bauhaus' Too Much 21st Century. The sound was excellent, but this being my first time seeing Peter Murphy, I guess I wished for a little more interaction with his fans. I guess that just isn't part of his process.
My only gripe about this concert would be the lack of clarity about who was headlining. I realize there are "co-headlining" events, and this would be a great example. It just wasn't clear to the guests, and I think it could have prevented a mass exodus of fans after She Wants Revenge played.
I asked Justin Warfield about the confusion and his reply was, "It's f---ing Peter Murphy!" and that he was very honored to open for him. Both bands have a similar fan base, and both feed from another. It was a great combination -- a true two-for-one headliner, and I don't think anyone would complain about that.
Review / photos: Andrew Carlton, tbt*