Bauhaus, Academy, Manchester

Academy, Manchester

When director Tony Scott sought a band to provide the soundtrack for the vampire film The Hunger, Bauhaus were the only serious choice. Despite hailing from 1980s Northampton, the quartet were goth before it had a name. Their influence stretches from Sisters of Mercy to Marilyn Manson. They also defiantly raised the bar for rock pretension: grown men in make-up who were not afraid to sing lyrics like: "Mirrors multi reflecting this, between spunk-stained sheet and odorous whim."

Quite where the band have been in the past few years (a tomb?) is unexplained, but frontman Peter Murphy isn't one to let a developing bald patch halt what will surely one day be a complete metamorphosis into Dracula. Ghoulishly resplendent in - of course - black, he illustrates the anti-organised religion God in an Alcove by clambering into an alcove between the speakers and threatens to disembowel a missile-thrower during Terror Couple Kill Colonel. You don't get this from Bloc Party.

Even in their heyday, Bauhaus never played venues this big nor filled shows with as much effort or detail. They shun their more commercial material in favour of the more creative early stuff: songs with titles like Rosegarden Funeral of Sores sound like symphonies played inside a pressing plant. The tunes sound weirdly current, not least because the likes of punk-funk Kick in the Eye have been plundered by the Rapture.

With guitarists David J and Daniel Ash looking like cyborgs, Count Murphy is as watchable as a Hammer actor. Despite being several centuries old, he's cool - and wry - enough to halt David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust mid-climax, rush off for a costume change and return (to gasps) to end the song. When he finally vanishes under a voluminous cape during Bela Lugosi's Dead, there isn't an audience member alive not yearning to be undead.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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