Although Brendan Perry's show Monday at the 9:30 club was his first local performance since the dissolution of his previous band, Dead Can Dance, he showed little interest in highlighting his own material. In fact, the Irish singer-songwriter performed almost as many songs by American folkies Tim Buckley and Fred Neil as from his own repertoire, and he also dipped into the Byrds and 13th Floor Elevators songbooks.
The concert's opening number, Buckley's "I Must Have Been Blind," appears on Perry's new album, "Eye of the Hunter," and he and his four-piece band performed it in the style of the album: The singer's resonant baritone was accompanied principally by his own acoustic guitar and a string section (simulated by a synthesizer). But after that, Perry rarely returned to that style--or to "Eye of the Hunter."
Instead, he demonstrated the remarkable facility of his band, switching guitars often as he led the quartet from delicate chamber-rock to chugging garage-band din to near-symphonic musical swells. Only one of the songs featured the sort of sinuous Eastern riff typical of Dead Can Dance's later sound, but Perry found a world of stylistic possibilities in the standard guitar-bass-drums-keyboards lineup of a folk-rock band.