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London King's Cross Scala

In a performance bookended by intense, if all-too-reverent, versions of the late [a]Tim Buckley[/a]'s [B]'I Must Have Been Blind'[/B] and the elegiac [B]'Song To The Siren'[/B], darkness is the

Austere, balding and with the startled gaze of a hermit, Brendan Perry knows it's great to be a cult. This darkened room and some seasoned accompanists are all he needs to state his case. As the appreciative cheers of equally monk-like followers echo, the former Dead Can Dance singer doesn't even try to shrug off the gothic mantle that's hung around his neck for 18 years.



Instead, in a performance bookended by intense, if all-too-reverent, versions of the late Tim Buckley's 'I Must Have Been Blind' and the elegiac 'Song To The Siren', darkness is the engine that propels his bouts of soul-searching forward. Light and shade aren't entirely absent, when you witness his deep, reproachful baritone and a traditionalist music that favours a quasi-Irish approach; but the nihilistic optimism of 'Death Will Be My Bride' and the bitter romanticism of 'The Arcane' ensure he'll never be on British prime-time television.



When Brendan Perry juxtaposes stolen Joy Division lines with lyrics like, "You keep time/To the beat/Of an old slave drum", he evokes the forgotten past of his youth, with the air of someone who can't believe life has finally come to this. But, by retaining enough modernity in his music to cancel out nostalgic tendencies, he stays devoted to the search for new ways of expression.

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