PETER MURPHY (BAUHAUS) @ Capitol gets 9/10

Peter Murphy @ Capitol
w/ Nerve Quakes
Sunday, October 28, 2018


There is no doubt that Bauhaus’ debut, In The Flat Field, is a seminal record. The music’s angular minimalism pushed the boundaries of post punk while the brooding tones and dark symbolism of lead singer Peter Murphy was a vital ingredient in the birth of the goth movement. Now 40 years on from when Bauhaus first began, Murphy and bassist David J have reunited to tour the group’s debut LP, finishing off their Australian leg at Perth’s Capitol before heading on to mainland Europe.

The most notable fact on arrival at Capitol was the large numbers of punters that had arrived on time, and with the venue near capacity before openers, local five-piece Nerve Quakes took to the stage. Taking advantage of the opportunity to play in front of this many, Nerve Quakes delivered an outstanding set as they seamlessly moved through a 30 minute set that showcased all of the tricks in their arsenal.

Having previously opened for other large touring artists, such as Tropical Fuck Storm in May at Badlands, the band are going from strength to strength. This is evident in the ever-increasing strength and dynamism in newly-mulleted front-woman Caitie Moondog’s vocals, which carried above the goth stylings of the band and throughout the venue. The band were super tight; the chorus-drenched Rickenbacker matching the multi-layered synths, while the driving bass and pulsating percussion meshed together, winning over the nodding crowd who I suspect many had found ‘their new favourite band’.

Following the dispersal of the openers, the only real mystery of the night was the large forty-five minutes gap before Peter Murphy and co. took to the stage. But any signs of  this diminishing the audience’s enthusiasm was immediately forgiven the moment the opening bass notes of Double Dare rang out. Murphy erupted on to stage, looking like a modern Rasputin with his stylish moustache and slicked back hair. As the group worked through the debut LP, Murphy’s intensity increased and he began to pace the front of stage like a caged tiger, kicking out at bottles of water and a punter’s iPhone that got a little too close to the action.

The group meticulously tackled deeper cuts In The Flat Field and A God In Alcove expertly, and breathed new-life into the left-field, wonky punk of Small Talk Stinks and St. Vitus Dance, which Murphy opened with a spoken-word rendition of the lyrics.

After a relatively quick break, the group returned back on stage and launched head-forth into a set of goth classics, starting with slow-shuddering of Burning from the Inside, the melodious Silent Hedges and then their mega-classic Bela Legosi’s Dead.

While this tour was not a reunion of Bauhaus the band, (Murphy and David J were accompanied by John Andrews and Marc Slutsky on guitar and drums respectively), the show was far from a cash-grab, with the sheer enthusiasm and unbridled joy that the duo displayed spilling over to the audience. It was a joy to see the two’s sheer love to perform the art that they had created together, and the intensity they attacked each song with made it feel like this was the first time they were playing these songs.

Backing up the awesome start to their second set, the group played an extended version of She’s In Parties with Murphy on melodica which they followed with the straight-groove of Kick In the Eye, before the slick new-wave of The Passion of Lovers. For the set finale, the group wound the audience up into a dizzy frenzy with the speedy violence of Dark Entries, with David J’s passionate back-up vocals echoing throughout the venue.

Leaving the stage once again, the near capacity crowd were rewarded, with the group revisiting the origins as a Bowie cover-band, launching into their frenetic cover of T-Rex’s Telegram Sam before concluding with a splendorous cover of Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust. And with the final notes and Murphy’s delivery of the “Ziggy played guitar” line, Murphy’s sweat drenched arms reached out for the last time to the crowd in exaltation. The audience responded accordingly, making a suitably raucous noise to represent their delight of the performance, many in disbelief that it was all over in what a seemed like a such short time. We can only hope that Murphy will return once again in the near future.


Photos by Brayden Edwards