INTENSITY and great live shows go hand in hand. It is unlikely there will be better show in The Basement at City Screen any time soon.

Murry and his British band, a luxuriant and talented mash- up of pedal steel, keyboards, two basses and two drummers, were the perfect choice for this venue.

The best way to experience Murry is up close, to see the whites of his eyes, the sweat and the spit, the power of his stare. By contrast, opener Boss Caine was all smiles, sounding better than ever with his duet partner Amy Green.

When interviewed by The Press, Murry was lamenting that the humour in his material was overlooked. While the music itself was pitch black, Murry’s shtick between songs was beyond off the wall, as befitting his outlandish demeanour – jacket, tie, riding boots and jangly keys.

Much has already been written about Murry’s background and history of drug abuse and mental illness. Like Eels' Mark Everett, Murry can transform that inner pain in an array of great music.

The Eels are a good reference point, with Murry able to take in country, rock and laments without breaking stride. He even picked up drum sticks for an electronic number, dancing in the style of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.

Finally he also gave a nod to another performer renowned for his fixed glare, Neil Young. Fine as the encore of Cortez The Killer was, it was surely eclipsed by Little Coloured Balloon’s riveting account of Murry's near-death OD (even better than on record) and Southern Skies, his best song, where the tender and the broken find something approaching redemption.

What was perhaps most revealing over the 19-song, two-hour set was how original a lyricist he is. The producer of his most recent record, the more muted A Short History Of Decay, has likened Murry to Texan poet Townes Van Zandt. That is normally a fanciful comparison, but not in this case. While Murry is compelling to watch, there is an innate fragility about him. Catch him while you can.