LOS ANGELES -- Midway through Bauhaus' "Resurrection" show
Friday night, frontman Peter Murphy paused between songs to change his look.
As a stagehand held up a mirror, Murphy, wearing shiny dark-red pants and a
white shirt, wrapped a green scarf around his head, forming a turban.
Then he freshened up his black eyeliner.
Taking the mirror in his hands, he began to sing -- first to himself, and then,
turning the mirror toward the crowd and pressing his face up next to it, to his
Murphy peered out at them with an inquisitive gaze as the mirror cast an
angular light across the darkness of the Hollywood Palladium.
There you could see, much as guitarist Daniel Ash had earlier predicted, "a sea
Though the large majority of concert-goers were in elementary school during
Bauhaus' original four-year run from 1979 to 1983, they turned out in force to
see the reunited pioneers of goth-rock.
And they did it in true Bauhaus style, bathing themselves in black -- black
eyeliner, black lipstick, black nail polish, black fishnets … black everything.
As Bauhaus played their second show in 15 years -- the first was at the
Hollywood Athletic Club the night before -- one thing was certain: Bauhaus are
just as viable today as they were in 1983.
That was quite apparent during the band's final encore, their modern rock hit
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Bauhaus/Bela_Lugosi's_Dead.ram">"Bela Lugosi's Dead"
Lugosi's Dead"(RealAudio excerpt). As Murphy proclaimed the lyrics
-- "undead, undead, undead" -- crowd-surfers surfed and pit-moshers moshed
in the front lines near the stage.
As 18-year-old Aaron Gottesman said after the show, while sitting on a curb
outside the venue, "People moshing to 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' -- that's a bit odd."
Others found it more irritating than odd. "There were people here who were
obvious patrons to the scene," said a Bauhaus-T-shirt-clad Daniel Ribiat, 20,
who had his white hair spiked and his eyes and lips lined in black. "But other
people were acting like it was a frat party -- some guy in a white T-shirt jumped
on me, and it really pissed me off."
Nevertheless, as Murphy, Ash, bassist David J and drummer Kevin Haskins
delivered 15-year-old Bauhaus songs, such as the club hit "She's in Parties"
and the disco-fied
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Bauhaus/Kick_In_The_Eye.ram">"Kick in the Eye"
the Eye"(RealAudio excerpt), they sounded utterly contemporary.
Having spent those 15 years pursuing other projects -- Murphy concentrating on
a solo career and Ash, J and Haskins bashing on with their psychedelic-rock
band Love and Rockets -- the reunited Bauhaus returned to their old songs
without the slightest sense of nostalgia. Even the dramatic title of their reunion,
"Resurrection," seemed a little less overwrought.
"There's obviously some [nostalgia] there, but when we play the material, we
find that it is essentially a type of rock music, in the sense that it's more
guitar-oriented rather than synthesized," Ash said prior to the show. "The songs
still hold up now; they seem sort of relevant still, as it kind of comes full circle.
We're not embarrassed by it; it doesn't sound dated."
Much of the night's drama was centered around Murphy. As he sang "Hollow
Hills," 13 light bulbs dropped from the ceiling, suspended at different lengths.
(The show featured no front lighting, only back, side and top, which essentially
served to push the full spectacle forward.)
In a David Copperfield-like move, Murphy cupped his hands underneath the
light bulb closest to him at center stage, creating the illusion that the bulb was
floating in sync with his motions. Meanwhile, the bulb became brighter, as did
each subsequent one he neared.
The most dramatic moment came before Murphy even took the stage. While the
crowd waited for the show to begin, his face was projected in black and white
on a television screen positioned center stage. As the eerie music of the
opening number, "Double Dare," came to life, so did Murphy's image. With the
camera zooming in and out on his powder-white face, Murphy sang the opening
lyrics, "I dare to be real," while staring at the crowd in an entranced, ominous
"Welcome back," Murphy said as he came onstage. "This ain't rock 'n' roll; this