They may not have invented the genre that spawned a generation of moody, Doc Martin–clad dreamers, but Bauhaus have definitely earned a prominent niche on the cold, hard walls of the goth cathedral. Without notice or dark makeup, a detached Peter Murphy emerged onto the stage, chanting the indiscernible lyrics to “King Volcano.” Although the other original members of Bauhaus were not there to join him—calling it quits in 2008 after their final tour for the critically praised studio album Go Away White—Murphy’s chilling vocals cloaked the room in a fog of bittersweet nostalgia.
Murphy’s delivery, along with the help of an impeccable backing band, made 35-year-old Bauhaus hits sound as fresh as a newly dug grave. The repertoire included “Silent Hedges,” “God in an Alcove,” the rapid “Dark Entries,” the addictive “The Passion of Lovers,” “Kick in the Eye,” and of course, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” But the pinnacle of the performance came when the crisp, melancholic acoustic opening of “Strange Kind of Love” rang through the loudspeaker. Murphy’s voice sounded arguably better than it had on his solo album. For the encore, he engraved the last inscription on the Bauhaus tombstone with the notorious cover of “Ziggy Stardust”—a warm and modest way to end an evening of throbbing art rock.