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like a fine old world wine

some things really do get better with age. apparently, contrary to what i might have thought, bands can be among them.

i took in the bauhaus show at koolhaus (that's way too close to rhyming for comfort) last night, figuring that at the least, i could say that i'd seen them, rather than pouting over the fact that by the time i'd even heard them for the first time, they'd already broken up. and i figured that at the least, they'd sound like a decent bauhaus cover band.

how very wrong.

if anything, the band has gotten better and tighter with time and their live show, while not what you'd call energetic, was captivating. everything about their preseentation reeked of cool precision, from the perfectly controlled feedback to the monochromatic lights. peter murphy, looking kind of like a cross between lenin and vincent price (but still not bad), is as spot on as his old recordings, even on the trickiest parts of their undead anthem bela lugosi's dead.

seeing them reminded me of what an original band they were, as well as what those who followed in their footsteps have lacked. for starters, their songs were smart (if often self-consciously arty) rather than emotionally overwrought. put their lyrics next to those of any latter day goth band (or the sisters of mercy for that matter) and you'll see the difference. second, they were influenced not just by rock and post-punk, but by dub and reggae. listen to their basslines and the influence is incredibly obvious, it's probably one of the most distinctive elements of their sound, although one that not a lot of people pay attention to.

their disaffected cool seems completely unforced and, for a band that has a pretty melodramatic "aura" around them, they are decidedly subtle and untheatrical.

check them out if they pass through your city. it's rare to see a band of that era who still seem to be in their prime.

ps- one thing i did NOT enjoy about the show was the fact that i got to spend most of it stuck to the floor because some idiot dropped her beer before the band went on. if you're going to drink, be careful. if you're going to giggle and push and act like a tool, stay home in the trailer park where you belong.

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