Peter Murphy & David J
40 Years of Bauhaus Ruby Celebration tour
New York, NY
February 14, 2019
Valentine’s Day isn’t usually considered a Goth holiday. It’s kind of frilly and definitely bright. Pink is the color that many associate with Valentine’s Day. The Goth esthetic is a bit dark with many apocalyptic and/or mystical elements. Black and deep dark red are the colors most associated with the Goth movement.
Peter Murphy & David J brought the 40 Years of Bauhaus Ruby Celebration tour to New York City’s Terminal 5 for their very Goth take on Valentine’s Day. Part of the beauty of this tour is the fact that the two musicians and their band has been playing Bauhaus’ entire debut album, In The Flat Field (4AD, 1980), followed by a set of other Bauhaus classics and interesting cover of Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” with segued out of and back into “She’s in Parties.”
For the uninitiated, Bauhaus was and is an English post-punk/gothic rock band, formed in Northampton, England in 1978. The group consists of Peter Murphy (vocals, occasional instruments), David J (bass), Kevin Haskins (drums) and Daniel Ash (guitar, saxophone). Bauhaus achieved its greatest commercial success and is best known by causal music fans for its single “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.”
Over the years Bauhaus has broken-up and gotten back together with some regularity. Murphy has forged a solo career. Ash and Haskins formed Tones on Tail and, later, reunited with David J to form Love and Rockets. All have enjoyed some commercial success in the United States.
Frontman Murphy is definitely one-of-a-kind. He has a presence that commands every room he enters (whether he is performing or just mingling among friends). He has a rich baritone singing voice at even after 40 years remains powerful and theatrical. The man is a pop culture icon. He has appeared as The Cold One in 2010’s The Twilight Saga: Eclipse film. He also achieved a measure of fame for the famous Maxell ad campaign from the ‘80s, in which he portrayed the man in the chair being blown away by the powerful speaker. As a solo artist he has collaborated with Trent Reznor, Mick Karn and KMFDM, among others. He has been called “The Godfather of Goth.”
In addition to being a founding member and the bassist for both Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, David J has composed the scores for a number of plays and films. He has written plays and his artwork has been shown in galleries across the globe. David J has made a name for himself as a resident DJ at the Knitting Factory and at other venues across the United States.
On this day at Terminal 5, following opening sets by Desert Mountain Tribe and Vinsantos, Murphy, David J, guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite and the band delivered a performance for the ages casting a spell over the fans in the intimate venue that entranced them for close to two hours. In addition to the fact that members of the legendary Bauhaus were performing together, the draw was the fact that they would be offering the adoring fans a track by track performance of In the Flat Field.
The performance along with the lighting was other-wordly. Murphy’s voice was in top form, the band was tight as a drum. Murphy was as theatrical as possible (as one would expect), even donning a gold crown during the show. The lighting pulsed and bathed the stage in blues, reds, purples, greens as well as with various configurations of lasers and strobe lights. With each song the energy built and the audience was riveted, becoming more and more enthralled by the second as Murphy strutted, pranced and stalked his way through the performance. In addition to the classic album, the performance included other Bauhaus tunes. The crowd was treated to “Burning From The Inside,” “Silent Hedges,” “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (of course), “She's in Parties,” “Kick in the Eye” and “The Passion of Lovers.”
The encores sent an already delirious crowd over the proverbial edge. “King Volcano” was quickly followed by “Kingdom’s Coming” and a raw but amazing cover of Dead Can Dance’s “Severance.” The energy given off by the performers was infectious. The audience was just as drained as the band members.
At the end, Murphy stepped forward and while standing at the edge of the stage, blew kisses to the cheering crowd. Those lucky enough to be in a closer proximity got quick handshakes. Even though both the crowd and the performers were exhausted and sweat-drenched, it is likely that had there not been a New York City performance curfew, each and every one of them would have happily remained for more.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon