Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) -The Gov – Monday 22 October 2018
Words Geoff Jenke
Peter Murphy, the godfather of goth, first made his mark fronting influential UK group Bauhaus, who this year celebrate their 40th anniversary. Bauhaus appeared out of the London post-punk scene in 1978 and with their darkly romantic image and brooding songs like “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, quickly became the touchstone for the nascent goth movement. Bauhaus were one of the first gothic rock bands and were extremely influential on bands like The Cure. Peter is joined on this tour by Bauhaus co-founder and bass player, David J for this 40-year Ruby Anniversary show.
The show centred around the debut In The Flat album, which was originally released way back in 1980. The album received a lot of negative reviews from the music press of the time. NME described it as “nine meaningless moans and flails bereft of even the most cursory contour of interest.” However, fanzines raved about it and one retrospective review states “few debut albums ever arrived so nearly perfectly formed”
The band started with Double Dare and worked their way through all nine tracks from the debut album, ending with Nerves. Murphy, the eternal shaman working his way around the Gov stage, bending and twisting to the music, his baritone voice resinating throughout the whole room. The crowd may have been small but Murphy worked every person in the room. His eyes wide open, often staring into the distance, left us wondering what he was actually looking at. The face and expressions would find a suitable home in any Hammer Horror movie.
Being the 40th Anniversary tour, it was fitting to have David J on bass. His heavy bass lines added a sinister touch to the music all evening.
With the album finished, the crowd awaited the set of Bauhaus songs to follow. Burning from the Inside started and was magnificent. The band (and the audience) were all dressed in black with Murphy adorning a red scarf. Murphy has never shied away from the fact Bowie was a huge influence and this could be seen in many of the theatrics performed this tonight. Bela Lugosi’s Dead had the crowd shouting out “undead, undead” with Murphy.
The set closed with The Passion of Lovers from the album Mask followed by a brilliant version of the 1980 single Dark Entries. The crowd wasn’t going to let them get away without an encore and the band came back for a cover of Dead Can Dance’s Severance. A dark and moody fitting climax to the evening.
Unfortunately for us the set list displayed two glam rock covers in T.Rex’s Telegram Sam and Bowies Ziggy Stardust, which we didn’t get. Maybe he was unhappy with the crowd size, maybe they ran out of time.
A dark but magnificent trawl through one of the eighties classic goth bands by the person who may have been responsible for starting the movement.
A bit of Trivia – Bauhaus made an appearance in the horror film The Hunger,(staring David Bowie) where they performed “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” during the opening credits.