The forgotten truth of Bauhaus is that a lot of their music was actually very, very good… When they recorded their most revered works the term “gothic” was really only applied to architecture and a few 18th century authors. Like most music genres, as even a cursory look at the other ‘goth’ bands – Virgin Prunes, Southern Death Cult, UK Decay, The Birthday Party – demonstrates, each had a startling unique look and sound. Perhaps if Bauhaus hadn’t lyrically embraced so many of what later, with the advent of the Batcave Club and associated acts, became the ‘tropes’ of goth (a template, arguably, already founded by Siouxsie & the Banshees) they would probably have passed for one of the better, albeit more theatrical, post-punk bands and escaped the ‘G’-stigma.
Looking considerably better preserved than his police mug-shot would suggest, Murphy arrives on stage as lean and with a voice as strong as ever. Despite a sound-mix that initially renders the first few numbers unrecognisable slush, by the time ‘In The Flat Field’ blasts out the sludge has been removed, and from then on it’s all thriller-no filler. Murphy and backing band launch into a greatest hits set of Bauhaus classics encompassing a glorious, funked –up ‘Kick In The Eye’, frenetic renditions of ‘Lagartija Nick’ and ‘Dark Entries’. Then there’s ‘Double Dare’, ‘God In An Alcove’, ‘The Passion Of Lovers’, ‘Stigmata Martyr’ , ‘She’s In Parties’, a dub-inflected ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’ and an unexpected version of Dead Can Dance’s “severance”. The other cover of the night is the final encore of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ , a song that was notable even at its time of release for being an almost exact take on the Bowie original, suggesting perhaps Bauhaus wilfully distancing themselves from the emergent goth culture and planting their roots firmly in the heritage of glam.