Formed back in 1978, the legendary and massively influential Bauhaus hailed from Northampton England, comprising of Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J and Kevin Haskins. The band's goal was to get the F out of dodge and all things Northhampton, which according to Murphy had a "dead existence." The dark and foreboding music that they made together possesses far more force, variety and playfulness than the "Founding Fathers of Goth" tag that has been attached to them. Ironically like everything else in life, nothing is quite like it seems.
From the bleak outlook of life in Northampton, what we get in return is the brilliance of Bauhaus. In The Flat Field was the band's debut on 4AD records back in 1980, and well let's just say that the reviews were not all that pretty and positive. Andy Gill from Gang of Four, of all people, described the album in his review for the UK's NME as "Hip Black Sabbath.” That was written at the time as an insult.
Up to the present day, would reviews of this sort be accurate? On the contrary. The album itself is groundbreaking in scope- a dire prediction of surviving Northampton when you dig deep into it's bevy of abrasive songs. The songs themselves have been described as a "windblown sonic assault to the senses." A slow build that defines the genres of Post Punk and Goth, not subtle by any measure, but that was the point. Undeniably, In The Flat Field still holds up, making it that more exciting and pleasurable to hear the album in its entirety, as is the case on this current 40th anniversary tour of its debut.
On this tour, Peter Murphy is joined onstage with Bauhaus bassist extraordinaire David J, a remarkable songwriter in his own right, and these two together bring a compelling presence that revels in all things dark and purple. Rounding out the band is the brilliant Mark Gemini Thwaite on guitars, a musician's musician who has a history of playing with some heavy hitters such as The Mission, Tricky, and Spear of Destiny, to name a few. Let it be known that when Peter was introducing band members midway through their set, he stated "And on guitar, one of the best guitarists in the world- Mark Gemini Thwaite", and that should tell you lots. Peter definitely surrounds himself with extraordinary musicians, and that's also the case with Marc Slutsky on drums, who also provides the necessary backbeat that keeps Bauhaus music up and running and undeniably intact.
Looking at the four albums Bauhaus created over the small span of five years until they disbanded in 1983, you can't help but think of how immensely pleasurable they were as a band, like lightning trapped in a bottle. Ferocious and dangerous one minute and patient and beautiful the next. The perfect, unpredictable nature of a band with remarkable songwriters who dwell in performance art.
To have this 40th anniversary tour come to Chicago and play at the formidable Rockefeller Chapel on the grounds of the University of Chicago in Hyde Park only adds to the luster of this review and story. A monumental example of all things "Gothic.” Built in 1925, and without the use of structural steel, Rockefeller Chapel is meant to be the central and dominant structure on the campus. The ceiling height is immense, and upon first entering the church, you're struck immediately by its ornate beauty, and the massive stained glass windows facing both north and south. The church itself is equal in presence to the performance we're witnessing first hand with Bauhaus. The stage is set on the mantle of the church- up marble steps towards the north end of the chapel. A bit cozy for a four piece band, but still enough room for Peter Murphy to roam the stage and get all chameleon like to his devoted followers.
I'm still trying to take it all in from this performance, the overwhelming presence of this gorgeous church, and hearing the beauty of all things Bauhaus. To be sitting in church pews, on wooden planks, with a ceiling that's over a 100 feet high, and smelling all things vintage/exquisite...let's just say that Chicago is lucky on this tour to have Peter Murphy and David J of Bauhaus performing in this glorious venue. The show itself was relentless through the entire album of In The Flat Field, followed by a lengthy encore of Bauhaus classics, including the anthem of all things “Goth”: "Bela Lugosi's Dead", with a sinister and suave Peter Murphy playing the part of a vampire bat to the hilt. Again, hard to soak it all in- the church, the audience, the floor lit lights brazenly focused on all things scary Peter Murphy, all things be damned when it come to age. To hear the refrain of "Undead undead undead" over and over from that iconic song, with a slow and steady drumbeat, and David J's mesmerizing dead end bass beats....let's just say it still gives me chills, and the song could've gone over repeatedly for an hour and still be riveting. The first of two nights with Bauhaus at the Rockefeller Chapel, and it was mesmerizing to say the least.
A special night that you will remember forever if you were there. It was that good.
On February 7th, I finally had the opportunity to witness not only one of my favorite bands live, but a vital piece of New York City music history. As I was growing up and beginning to discover my own likes music-wise -- not just the same old same old classic rock my parents played during my childhood, and later my young adulthood -- I went through many different genre phases. This included punk, new wave, modern alternative rock bands, until I ultimately stumbled upon the early 2000’s indie rock bands. Though many of the bands from said scene derive different influence from one another and sound drastically unique, I considered this a genre. Having been born and raised in South Florida, I often dreamed of getting a chance to even slightly relive that gracious time period of rock and roll in one of my favorite cities ever. For the time being, I continuously read Meet Me in the Bathroom, a book detailing the oral history of that NYC indie rock scene. One band that continued to stand out to me due to their versatility and artistry was Interpol.
Unlike any of these other bands from this scene, Interpol has continued to stay relevant, while also somewhat flying under the radar. They’re still generous to their fans -- this can be shown in their diverse setlist, which caters to fans at all walks of life. They genuinely enjoy making music. It’s obvious they absolutely love performing. And most importantly, they have remained an important pioneer in the indie rock scene.
Entering the Chicago Theater on February 7th, I was awestruck by the beauty of the venue and also by the fact that I would finally be seeing Interpol. The juxtaposition between a rock band like Interpol and the beautiful historic landscape was breathtaking. However, before the band took the stage, opener Sunflower Bean did the deed of winning over the crowd as the opener. Though both groups derive influence from different areas, they have one thing in common -- they love to rock, but again, in different ways. Sunflower Bean are probably the only band in the alternative rock music scene at the moment who is truly doing the rock and roll genre justice. They incorporate long guitar solos into their set, lead singer Julia Cumming struts around the stage like a superstar, guitarist Nick Kivlen wears sunglasses and 70’s-esque garb and oozes an effortlessly cool attitude, and they include catchy drum hooks, thanks to drummer Jacob Faber.
As Interpol graced the stage at 9PM sharp, the lights went dim and stayed dim. Only the soft light of a sole disco ball became the light source for the duration of the first two songs. Though difficult to photograph, it was wondrous to view in person. Between the stunning performance from Interpol and the detailed light show, the crowd was absolutely astonished. Interpol fans are loyal— though the crowd tended to be a lot older than me, the fans came out early and stayed late, a truly dedicated sold-out crowd.
Opening with “Pioneer to the Falls,” a moody yet crescendoing track from my favorite album from the band, Our Love To Admire, Interpol gradually eased into their anthemic setlist. Next, the band quickly transitioned into “C’mere” from the fan-favorite, Antics, before then introducing some newer tracks from Marauder, like “If You Really Love Nothing,” “Complications,” and the exceptional single, “The Rover."
Toward the end of the band’s set, they played iconic tracks from El Pintor as well as Antics, like “All the Rage Back Home,” “Not Even Jail,” and “Slow Hands.” Before ultimately smashing their encore by playing “Lights” and “Obstacle 1,” fan-favorites from the band’s debut, Turn On the Bright Lights.
The show tonight reminded be of how great the New York City rock scene truly is. Interpol, a dark, brooding, yet well-versed band alongside newcomers, Sunflower Bean fresh out of the Brooklyn DIY scene. Although both are different, they both are part of Renaissances within rock music. It’s truly unfathomable how important these rock Renaissances are and thanks to pivotal bands like Interpol and bands that are keeping the flame alive like Sunflower Bean, we will continue to witness this rebirth of music and culture happen right before our eyes.
1. Pioneer to the Falls
3. If You Really Love Nothing
4. Public Pervert
7. Say Hell to the Angels
9. Take You on a Cruise
10. The Rover
11. Number 10
12. Rest My Chemistry
14. Flight of Fancy
15. The New
16. All the Rage Back Home
17. Slow Hands
19. Not Even Jail
20. Obstacle 1
Words + Photos by Ava Butera
Brendon Urie and his band Panic! at the Disco. Always changing. Always evolving. All for the better, especially when it comes to live performance.
Since the departures of guitarist Ryan Ross, Bassist Jon Walker and drummer Spencer Smith- it’s down to Lead vocalist / Songwriter Brendon Urie to carry all things Panic! by his lonesome.
And that he does in spades, what with a second stop in Rosemont (Chicago) since back in the fall of 2018, on his “Pray for the Wicked” tour.
It’s basically the same show since the first time around, but with some tweaks and extra polish- more to add in regards to the Las Vegas glitz and showmanship throughout.
The screaming kids don’t mind, with parents in tow, what with his wholesome sense of humor and obvious good looks: a boy next door who makes it big and doesn’t forget his roots or where he comes from.
That said, you can tell Brendon Urie puts a lot of time and energy into this touring production: sophisticated lighting, terrific staging, a band that blasts away at a moment’s notice, down to a horn section that can tear the roof off of the Allstate Arena when full on, as is the case with the song “Crazy=Genius”: a fire infested number that has everyone in the venue on their feet and dancing madly in place.
All things considered with Brendon and Panic! at the Disco: anything is possible in the presentation of his music, and it definitely packs a wallop.
Even when Brendon brought his band to JBTV Music Television back in 2015- he scoped out our listening / taping room during soundcheck to get a feel from every possible angle if you were an audience member, to make you feel welcome, and part of the family, and part of the party.
I guess that since then, nothing’s changed in his approach prior to performance, only on a much grander scale: how do you reach and engage the persons sitting in section 215 and 216, the furthest reaches to the Allstate Arena?
It wouldn’t surprise me if Brendon himself ventured up there to give it a look from that perspective. That’s just the kind of guy he is.
So during the show you have to ask the question: how the hell does he hit those high notes each and every night? I swear the place goes crazy each and every time he does, and successfully.
And those damn catchy songs. During the show, there’s not one weak link in the bunch, and there’s plenty of songs to go through, over 28 in all, counting the encore.
Over the years, Brendon has metamorphosed into the definition of a showman’s showman: a ringleader of constant positive energy with an attitude to kick all ass.
Lets’s keep it simple: Go see the show. You won’t be disappointed — from beginning to end.
Also, openers Two Feet and Betty Who brought the synth pop to the masses who showed up early in their abbreviated sets.
Panic! at the Disco’s setlist:
1. (Fuck A) Silver Lining
2. Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time
3. Ready to Go (Get me out of My Mind)
4. Hey look Ma, I Made it
5. LA Devotee
8. The Ballad of Mona Lisa
9. Nine in the Afternoon
10. One of the Drunks
11. Casual Affair
12. Vegas lights
13. Dancing’s Not a Crime
14. This is Gospel
15. Death of a Bachelor
16. I Can’t Make You Love Me — (Bonnie Raitt cover)
17. Dying in LA
18. The Greatest Show
19. Girls/Girls/ Boys
20. King of the Clouds
21. High Hopes
22. Miss Jackson
23. Roaring 20s
24. Bohemian Rhapsody — (Queen cover)
25. Emperor’s New Clothes
26. Say Amen (Saturday Night)
27. I Write Sins Not Tragedies
Filed by Bobby Talamine
Photos by Bobby Talamine
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN