It would have been 1990 or so. I lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a tiny bit of state nestled between two Great Lakes. More a part of Canada than the US really. I was lounging in the basement watching TV as bored kids living in the UP tend to do. My eldest brother slept down there as well, a makeshift bedroom on the unfinished side, curtained off with beads, furnace parts and exposed plumbing. Through the thin walls I hear this slow and steady beep……….beep……….beep……….beep. Annoyed at the disruption to my ever important TV time I assumed his alarm clock was going off and he was either gone or passed out. Begrudgingly, I get up to investigate. As I turn the corner however the sound begins to fill out. The beeping is still there but now I can hear it married with a gorgeous jangly guitar and one of the most beautiful, haunting and pleading voices I have ever heard. The voice was Peter Murphy and the band was of course, Bauhaus.
This was the moment I was introduced to Bauhaus. This moment is one of those moments that if it didn’t happen, my life today might be completely unrecognizable.
The song was The Spy in the Cab from Bauhaus’ masterpiece of an album In The Flat Field. The beep, one of the most simple yet creative and daring bass lines played by David J (the bassist who’s innovative style and sound made me want to play bass).
I had never heard music like this before. People call it “Goth” but it’s so much more than that, so much more than just dark rock. It is theater. It is poetry. It is exhibition and passion. This was the first band that became mine. The first band that I connected with on that level that makes you look at life differently. And while I adore every Bauhaus album released, In the Flat Field will always hold an incredibly important and pivotal place in my heart.
So needless to say, when I heard that Peter Murphy was going to be touring with David J and performing Flat Field in its entirety, I knew this would be something special. And at the lovely Oriental Theater no less, one of my favorite, and one of the last truly independent venues here in Denver.
I had the honor of being there for both nights. Monday was to photograph the show (photo set below), and Tuesday to just sit back and take in the set with my lovely wife as a passionate fan.
It was perfect.
From the first fuzz laden strum of Double Dare, I was instantly taken back to that moment in my brother’s dimly lit room. That moment that taught me that music can be more than a catchy melody or an infectious beat. It can be theatrical. It can be weird. It can be gloomy, sarcastic, flirtatious, shocking, angry, funny, morose, hopeful. The moment that I understood.
These are songs that will be with me forever. To be able to hear this piece of art live and in it’s entirety, in such an intimate and beautiful setting, was a gift that I will not soon forget.
Thank you Peter and David for giving me this moment of reflection, for giving us this gift of art.
As many who listen to the show already know, I am in a band with my lovely wife called Plume Varia. We had the extreme privilege of working with David J on our debut album Fact | Fiction (he produced and is featured on the album). You can check that out here!