Saturday 25 January 2020

Review: Brendan Perry, CrawDaddy, Dublin

Ed Power

BACK in the 1980s, Brendan Perry was the King Arthur of esoteric pop. As one half of medieval goth duo Dead Can Dance, he sold two million records, his brooding new age music gracing everything from nature documentaries to episodes of 'Miami Vice'.

Eleven years since his last album, however, it's clear Perry's appeal is more selective -- at the eleventh hour this rare solo concert has been downgraded from the 1,200- capacity Tripod to its smaller sibling, CrawDaddy.

It's probably just as well, because the show is best appreciated by die-hards. Concentrating on his elegiac solo output, the 53-year-old New Zealander (a long time resident of Cavan) gives his Dead Can Dance catalogue short shrift. Accompanied by two keyboard players, a drummer and bassist, his focus is instead on his new LP, 'Ark', a graceful, at times impenetrable work that took a decade to write and sometimes sounds like it.

It must worry Perry that he doesn't seem to have picked up a huge number of fans in the past quarter of a century. Ageing goths -- many bald and bearded mirror images of the singer himself -- are in the majority and the new material is listened to politely rather than with any palpable enthusiasm. The stand-out moment is right at the start, when he delivers a poignant reading of Dead Can Dance's 'The Carnival Is Over', with bassist Rachel Haden's ululating vocals accompanying the tune's haunting synth refrain. It's a blast of sweet nostalgia that blows all the cobwebs away. The evening could have done with more of the same.

Irish Independent

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