Bauhaus – in concert from Nijmegen – November 24, 1981 – VPRO – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Bauhaus this week. In concert from Nijmegen and recorded on November 24, 1981 by the venerable VPRO Radio network.
Together initially for a relatively short period of time (1978-1983), Bauhaus became one of the more influential bands in the post-punk/burgeoning Goth movements. Described as intense, highly theatrical, dark, abrasive and atmospheric, Bauhaus was one of those you could be not be passive about. You either loved them or hated them – I know of no one who felt ambivalent towards them.
Their 1979 debut single, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is considered the harbinger of gothic rock music and has been immensely influential on contemporary goth culture. Their debut album, In the Flat Field is regarded as one of the first gothic rock records. Their 1981 second album Mask expanded their style by incorporating various instruments such as keyboards, saxophone and acoustic guitar along with funk rhythms based tracks like “Kick in the Eye”. In 1982, Bauhaus achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom with their third album, The Sky’s Gone Out along with a cover of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust” which peaked No. 4 and No. 15 respectively on the British charts and earned an appearance on Top of the Pops. They continued to maintain their success with one more hit single “She’s in Parties” (from the band’s fourth studio album, “Burning from the Inside”) before breaking up in 1983.
After Bauhaus’ breakup in 1983, Murphy formed Dalis Car with Japan’s bassist Mick Karn before beginning a solo career later on, while Ash and Haskins continued as Tones on Tail and, later, reunited with David J to form Love and Rockets. Both enjoyed greater commercial success in the United States than Bauhaus had, but disappeared from the charts in their homeland. Bauhaus eventually reunited for a 1998 tour, again from 2005 to 2008, and once again in 2019.
Tonight’s concert is from their early, formative and probably most intense period. Finding a decent sounding concert from this period has been next to impossible – and even this broadcast gets rough in spots. But it’s worth it and worth the potential sonic pitfalls.