Live Shot: Neither Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, Nor Bela Lugosi Is Dead

English icon revives the pioneering UK goths’ 1980 debut

In a theater so elegant it seems natural that mere mortals be restricted from entering for any profane purpose, Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy exploited the undead loophole in the Paramount Theatre’s contract on Thursday night to play a goth kid’s equivalent to a church revival.

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

Photo by John Anderson

London/Cologne trio Desert Mountain Tribe, an offshoot of Black Angels-influenced band Young Dead Men, kicked off the evening with heavy psych rock before the headliner took the stage at 9:30pm. Tribe’s 2018 LP, Om Parvat Mystery, was mastered by Black Angels and Jack White sound mix engineer Brett Orrison, who’s local, so the opener’s set could have doubled as a Levitation fest preview.

English singer Murphy, 61, pranced like a sequined goth rock peacock in performing Bauhaus’ debut In the Flat Field during its 40th anniversary tour. The godfather to post-punk revivalists Interpol and New Wave boomerangs She Wants Revenge bared his fangs while singing in a voice as deep and full as a fresh grave alongside original Bauhaus bassist David Haskins and a new drummer and guitarist.

Murphy controlled the full house from the get-go, his face starkly and literally in the front and center spotlight he’s employed since Bauhaus stunned with “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” the band’s take on the Jamaican diaspora-born dub scene of late-Seventies London. Swooping like a bat over our own fair city, Murphy and band recalled Birthday Party’s noisy aggression, Joy Division’s bleak lyrics, Siouxsie Sioux’s mysterious aura with dark wave attitude, and Iggy Pop-style vamping. When Haskins said, “I thought this was Dallas,” Murphy supported him through the crowd’s outbreak of boo’s, but refrained from any more violent behavior on the order of his December fight with security in Sweden after tossing bottles into the crowd. Post-punk indeed.

After the harsh Flat Field exercise, the band flushed the stage with red light and played additional songs from Bauhaus’ short-lived run as a group. “Burning From the Inside” from 1983’s LP of the same name, followed by “Silent Hedges” off ‘82s The Sky’s Gone Out, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “She’s in Parties” from Burning, and “Kick in the Eye” from 81’s Mask all followed. As an encore, a cover of Dead Can Dance’s “Severence” felt like a continuation of Murphy’s short prayer (“like a gift”) for us to “get rid of [our] President.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy the Lionhearted
Peter Murphy the Lionhearted
Bauhaus dramatist prowls Belmont with old-school noir LP

Tim Stegall, July 29, 2014

More by Christina Garcia
Texas Platters
Pinkish Black
Concept Unification (Record Review)

July 5, 2019

Desert Hearts Texas Takeover Glammed Up Austin Shed Cedar Street Courtyard
Desert Hearts Texas Takeover Glammed Up Austin Shed Cedar Street Courtyard
Burning Man-like dance music party starred Damian Lazarus

May 13, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Peter Murphy, Bauhaus, David Haskins, Bela Lugosi, Desert Mountain Tribe, Black Angels, Jack White, Brett Orrison, Birthday party, Joy Division, Siouxsie Sioux, Dead Can Dance, Iggy Pop

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle