[sic] Magazine

Peter Murphy – 40 Years of Bauhaus – Bochum Christuskirche.

“I dare you, to be real
To touch a flickering flame”

Peter Murphy takes to the stage like a Las Vegas Negan. Black Jeans, brown belt, sequined biker jacket…. The difference is Murphy doesn’t need a baseball bat to prove that he’s the man. The Bauhaus frontman has reunited with founding member David J for this ‘Ruby Celebration’ aka 40 years of Bauhaus. Bochum’s Christuskirche is a sellout. No surprise. The fact that Murphy and band will deliver two sets of note perfect Bauhaus cuts somewhat is a surprise, albeit one of the pleasant variety.

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The suited and booted David J occupies stage right, i.e. the audiences (and my own) left and personifies coolness with his mastery of the bass plus, of course, those shades. Marc Slutsky is on drumming duty for this tour whilst I’m pretty sure I’ve seen guitarist Mark Gemini Thwaite before. Perhaps with The Mission? Maybe it’s just because he looks like that type of axe God. He slays it, basically. Then there’s the man himself, Peter Murphy, a post-punk titan who ‘broke the sound barrier’ with his own cheekbones back in the eighties. For this Anniversary tour Murphy has decided to play his In The Flat Field album in its entirety. The second half of the show cherry picks other Bauhaus favourites. As such we click straight into ‘Double Dare’ and all of its seductive violence. It’s a powerful opening.

Bochum Christuskirche

Bochum Christuskirche

Cards on the table, I’m not the worlds biggest fan of the ‘Album x in its entirety’ concert. I just think it takes away the frisson of the ‘not knowing’. However it has been years since I listened to In The Flat Field throughout and it is great to hear songs like ‘Nerves’ and ‘Dive’ performed live. That being said, fan-favourite ‘Stigmata Martyr’ is a real standout from tonights first half.

Peter Murphy remains mesmerising – a true showman. He is often seen reaching for the heavens or playing with the spotlights as though they’re some celestial harp. Yet for the most part Murphy prowls the stage, restlessly. His rolling, feline gait is reminiscent of a young Sean Connery – a panther replete with Cavalier beard and the occasional high kick. The voice though is as powerful as ever.

Part two could have been a generic ‘hits’ list but instead remains just eclectic enough to keep us on our toes. Of course they play ‘Bela’ plus an astonishing ‘She’s In Parties’, replete with David J tour de force Trojan bassline. ‘Silent Hedges’ is present as is a stunning rendition of ‘The Passion Of Lovers’, surely another highlight.

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For the encore Murphy returns with only Mark Gemini Thwaite as backing. I might have bet my house on ‘All We Ever Wanted’ and ‘Spirit’. Instead we get ‘The Three Shadows part II*’ and the now ubiquitous cover of Dead Can Dance’s ‘Severance’. (*Slutsky and David J having re-joined mid track.)

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I then witness one of the most unusual occurrences in my gig-going history. Having done the Vegas-style band member intros (thankfully no solos) twice, Murphy bids us farewell for the second time and the band leave the stage. The house lights come up. The final humming amp is silenced and a horde of happy Germans begin shuffling toward the exit. I swear one third of the venue has emptied by the time Murphy returns to the stage, no fanfare whatsoever and ‘Ziggy Stardust’ ensues. He could have been waiting in the wings. Tonight….he was with us.

“When the kids had killed the man
I had to break up the band.”

Tactical encore or venue cock-up? All I know is this. Folks can keep their Black Friday.
I’ve got Bauhaus Saturday.

“Call the curtain
Raise the roof
Spirits on tonight”

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[sic] Magazine wish to thank Peter Murphy and David J plus Shameless Promotion PR for a fantastic event. Words by Brett Spaceman and photography by Carine Hubrechts. Images subject to copyright and not for reproduction.

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