Peter Murphy Celebrates 40 Years of Bauhaus – A Night I’ll Cherish Forever A Ruby Celebration Never Shined So Bright
LOS ANGELES, CA- Torrential rains and flash flood warnings did not deter adoring fans from attending the Peter Murphy concert on January 16th at City National Grove in Anaheim. Post-punk/Goth pioneers Peter Murphy and David J Haskins, two original members of Bauhaus, flawlessly performed their 1980 album In The Flat Field in its entirety, along with many other Bauhaus classics and a few of their ‘better than the original’ covers to round out what amounted to a spectacular evening from start to finish.
Desert Mountain Tribe warmed things up with a stellar opening set. I first heard Desert Mountain Tribe a few years ago via The Reverb Conspiracy Volume Two, a wonderful annual compilation co-released by Fuzz Club and The Reverberation Appreciation Society which features the very best in current dark psychedelic rock. From the distorted fuzzed-out riffs to the strong, passionate vocals, pairing Bauhaus with Desert Mountain Tribe makes perfect sense. It’s encouraging to see music veterans like Peter Murphy bring a band like this to the US, offering an established American audience a small taste of what the current dark psychedelic music scene in Europe has to offer. Desert Mountain Tribe wowed the crowd in Anaheim and they’ve undoubtedly gained many new American fans along the way on this tour.
“Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, “Telegram Sam” (T.Rex cover), and “Ziggy Stardust” (David Bowie cover) were staples on KROQ during the 1980’s and hearing those tracks on the radio was my introduction to Bauhaus. Peter Murphy and Bauhaus were central to a movement in music that is so much a part of me that it feels like it’s embedded in my DNA. By the time I was 13, I experienced the sudden death of my father and the ongoing, profoundly devastating effects of my mother’s schizophrenia. Music was an escape from my harsh reality and often my only solace. Peter Murphy’s voice and those dark, fuzzed-out riffs soothed my deeply wounded spirit back then, and now as a middle-aged woman, it brings me a familiar sense of comfort in our increasingly crazy world. The last time I saw Peter Murphy was at an intimate gig at Pappy & Harriet’s back in 2013 and he absolutely blew the roof off. I was so relieved to hear that Peter’s travel issues from Turkey (my birth country, coincidentally) were sorted out and he was coming back to the US for a full tour featuring David J.
After much anticipation and happy chatter amongst fans in the audience, the lights went dim. Right away, the fuzzed out and distorted “Double Dare” bass riff hit me like a wave and I was instantly reminded that the roots of my obsession with dark, fuzzed-out music were standing directly in front of me. When Peter Murphy sang the first line, “I daaaare you, to be real…”, I knew I was in for quite an experience. As they seamlessly launched into the second and title track from In The Flat Field, I was mesmerized by David J’s sharp, ultra cool stage presence and perfect fretless bass playing. I watched Peter Murphy, one of the greatest showmen ever, captivate the audience with his perfect baritone voice and dance moves to match. While David J and Peter simultaneously blew my mind, I looked over to see Mark Gemini Thwaite beautifully shredding his guitar to absolute perfection, all while Marc Slutsky pounded away on the drums keeping perfect time. It was one of those magical goosebump inducing moments in music that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Peter and the band ripped through 21 songs that night, and I didn’t want it to end.
Bauhaus celebrates their 40th year, and on this Ruby Celebration tour Peter Murphy and David J bring the same power and passion to the stage that they’ve always had, if not more. It was a spellbinding night of pure art. The tour continues through February and it will conclude on February 28th in Los Angeles at the Novo.