Peter Murphy

It has been nearly 40 years since Peter Murphy, with his sonorous sound and ominous vocals, first sang “the bats have left the bell tower” in the Bauhaus 1979 debut single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”

It has been about 10 years since the English vocalist made his famous entrance hanging upside down like a bat onto a Coachella stage in 2005. He sang the entire “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” at nine-plus minutes, while suspended and inverted.

It seems fitting that The Godfather of Goth, who turns 60 in July 2017, should flutter to The Chapel in San Francisco on December 5. Fanatics should mind the rafters of the 40-foot arched ceiling at the mortuary-turned-music-venue where Murphy will perform stripped-down and semi-acoustic versions of his music — solo tracks mingled with Bauhaus bests.

Bauhaus gained cult appeal after the single appeared in the early 1980s horror movie The Hunger, starring a vampiric David Bowie. The group broke up in 1983.

Though Bauhaus was short-lived, the post-punk goth rock band, dark and gloomy in its style, made a vampire-like mark of its own as widely influential in the gothic movement. Murphy went on to cultivate a diverse and notable solo career. His first album, Should the World Fail to Fall Apart, came out in 1986. His most recent solo album, called Lion, was released in 2014 and remixed in 2015.  Lion has been hailed as “a goth epic” and one of Murphy’s “most solid solo releases.”

The Chapel show is one of a string of Bay Area performances that include stops at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz on December 2 and the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on December 3.

Peter Murphy
The Chapel
December 5, 2016

Peter Murphy
Rio Theatre
December 2, 2016
7:30pm, $33

Peter Murphy
Sweetwater Music Hall
December 3, 2016
9pm, $48.50 (21+)