BEING THERE: Bela Lugosi Is Still Dead


The scary monsters and super creeps were out in full force at the Trocadero Thursday night to see former Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy perform his old band’s gravest hits. The leather-clad godfather of goth had slithered into town to celebrate 35 years of Bauhaus, a band formed in 1978 concurrent with the rise of the roiling U.K. punk scene but never quite of it. Bauhaus trafficked in sinister guitar atmospherics stretched across a minimalist rock band configuration and narrated by Murphy’s velveteen voice-of-doom croon. Murphy was in top form Thursday, stalking the stage like a creature of the night and frequently swooping down over a floodlight on the foot of the stage which cast a ghoulish pallor on his face. His backing band was no Bauhaus but did an admirable job of recreating the high water marks of the back catalog, along with a slow haunting cover of Dead Can Dance’s “Severance,” before closing out the night with a bracing cover of “Ziggy Stardust” by David Bowie, a not-so-subtle hat-tip to his forefather. The moment everyone waited for came in mid-set with the plinking Morse code drumbeats, sepulchral guitar histrionics and wandering bass that kick off Bauhaus’ touchstone song, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” — aka Goth’s “Stairyway To Heaven.” On Thursday, Murphy’s vocal alternated between the funereal and the transcendental, seemingly intent on resurrecting Hollywood’s greatest vampire from the dead with his spell-binding baritone incantations and the dark spiraling vortex of music his band created. Ten minutes of cat scratch guitar scrape and dubbed-out doomsday bass runs later the song ended with Murphy slurring then bellowing the final lyrics — “I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead —  as the song faded back into the nothingness from whence it came.  Amen. — PETE TROSHAK