Ex-Bauhaus goth king Peter Murphy produced a performance for the ages

Ex-Bauhaus goth king Peter Murphy produced a performance for the ages

Words by Georgia Spanos

I’m not sure anyone was quite ready for the power that Peter Murphy and David J, two original founding members of gothic punk royalty Bauhaus, brought to Max Watt’s last Friday evening.

The night comprised of thought-provoking gloom and introspective romance as fans filled the venue holding roses ready to throw at the globally and gothically respected musicians.

To warm the crowd, we were blessed with similar sounding Melbourne-based bands, who both admit ties with Bauhaus when talking inspiration. Venetian Blinds were up first, enchanting us with their dark-wave and post-gothic-punk creations. The five-piece collective, all female bar Liam Linely, completely enthralled in their performance, amply capturing the punters in the room. The band work through six tracks that transition seamlessly and to perfection. The track ‘Cheating’ was of note and seemed to have the most attention, and ‘Silent Killer’ was all power.

Bitumen was up next sharing their cold-wave and gothic creations. Yes, this band has undoubtable strength, and we can feel their stage presence, but I can’t say I was too captivated by their sound. At times, they captured a similar feel to Sonic Youth and that was what brought the most enjoyment, but while the band is certainly musically equipped, they just didn’t catch my soul.

The stage was then completely overcome with energy and force, by the one and only Peter Murphy, Bauhaus frontman, and David J who strung wrenching bass alongside his longtime band member. Murphy marked his goth ethnicity draped in a black cape and plenty of jewellery, as David J stood laid back with black sunglasses. Throughout the show, Murphy literally jumped off the walls throwing himself around, reminding us that Bauhaus is 40 years strong but certainly not 40 years old news.

‘Double Dare’ was their starting track, and was the first time we witnessed Murphy’s confrontational glare. ‘The Spy in the Cab’ was sublime, as was ‘Small Talk Stinks’. Murphy captivates in his ability to take songs apart, stringing them out, before piecing them back together again. ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ was recognised by the —  unbeknown to many — boss nova rhythm that makes its intro. The band play for two-and-a-half hours, rounding out with an encore filled with ‘Severance’, ‘Telegram Sam’, and finally, ‘Ziggy Stardust’.

Highlight: ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’.
Lowlight: I feel Bitumen should have opened.
Crowd Favourite: ‘Ziggy Stardust’.