Review: Bauhaus at Alexandra Palace London 30/10/21

A sold-out Alexandra Palace welcomed back the original line up of post punk pioneers Bauhaus with open arms.  It was the Halloween weekend and London’s finest ‘undead’, resplendent in black, rose to the occasion. There were witches, Dracula’s, steam punks and walking dead in abundance, people dressed normally actually stood out in the crowd 😊..  The ladies (and a few blokes) must have spent many hours in make-up and hair to look as unique and good as they did.

Black was the predominant colour in audience, band and stage.  The usual spotlights and strobes flashing across the stage and cavernous hall with the odd bit of red and blue hue on occasional songs. The set basically covered songs from their heyday 1980 – 1982.  Dark, moody, and loud!

Bauhaus are: Daniel Ash – guitars, saxophone; Peter Murphy – Vocals; Kevin Haskins – drums; David J – bass

Prior to the band coming on stage at 8:40 the poor audience had to listen to 40 minutes of exceeding loud incomprehensible noise – image amp feedback mixed with the sound of an aircraft engine going into reverse on landing and the odd click of metal – atrocious!

They started off slowly with the droning guitar distortion on ‘Rose Garden Funeral of Sores’ and ‘Double Dare’ before the frenzied ‘In a Flat Field’ lifted the rhythm somewhat.  More dark and broody songs came and went and then the almost danceable ‘Kick in the Eye’ got the audience on the move.

In fairness all their songs are reliant on Danial’s guitar heavy solo-less sounds and textures.  None more so than the total classic that is ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ a macabre brooding slab of guitar and David J’s basic bass notes driving the song forever onwards.

Daniel Ash looked a picture – spikey hair, loud sunglasses and bedecked in a sparkling diamante leather jacket and necklace with multi zipped leather trousers (his second leather top had fluffy purple sleeves!).  Pete Murphy also had a tight sparking top showing off his little ‘middle aged spread’ whilst David J had his trademark suit, red scarf and dark sunglasses.

Murphy enacted the songs theatrically striking the poses and stalking the stage, none more so than during ‘Stigmata Martyr’ when he enacted the Christ on cross scene next behind the drum kit.  An intense performance by him all round.

The set list is below – click on the links to view the videos.

  1. Rosegarden Funeral of Sores (Telegram Sam single B-side, 1980)
  2. Double Dare (In the Flat Field, 1980)
  3. In the Flat Field (In the Flat Field, 1980)
  4. A God in an Alcove (In the Flat Field, 1980)
  5. In Fear of Fear (Mask, 1981)
  6. Spy in the Cab (In the Flat Field, 1980)
  7. Terror Couple Kill Colonel (single, 1980)
  8. She’s in Parties (Burning from the Inside, 1983)
  9. Kick in the Eye (Mask, 1981)
  10. Bela Lugosi’s Dead (single, 1979)
  11. The Man With the X-Ray Eyes (Mask, 1981)
  12. Silent Hedges (The Sky’s Gone Out, 1982)
  13. The Passion of Lovers (Mask, 1981)
  14. Stigmata Martyr (In the Flat Field, 1980)
  15. Dark Entries (single, 1980)

Encore:

  1. Sister Midnight (Iggy Pop cover)
  2. Telegram Sam (single, 1980)
  3. Ziggy Stardust (single, 1982)

Encore 2:

  1. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (The Sky’s Gone Out, 1982)

Murphy kindly sang half of certain songs at each stage edge for the benefit of the audience, and engaged them in the odd bit of singing.  He also played melodica and extra percussion for an extended version of, for them a minor hit in the UK charts, on ‘She’s in Parties’.  Murphy’s vocal performance was pretty darn good and held up well in the hallows of the venue.

Bauhaus closed, all systems firing, with ‘Dark Entries’ after about 70 minutes before returning to do a short stint of three covers (all be it classics), strange given they have many of their own songs they could have played, alas my favourite ‘Lagartija Nick’ was nowhere to been seen – a bit too quick in tempo I guess.

Then they tripped off and returned for a 2nd encore of ‘All We Ever Wanted Was Everything’ with Pete playing guitar for the first time.

Not much banter or sing-a-longs but the audience were enchanted, mesmerised and captivated in equal measure – all together now  “Oh Bela, Bela’s undead.”

Marko 31 October 2021

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