In 1990, one way to be cool was to wear a Bauhaus T-shirt. The English proto-goth group's shirts were dark, featuring either a Draculian Bela Lugosi or sharp-winged bats. In a small town, the shirt reeked of big city aspirations and, literally, of clove cigarettes. The tunes, mainly written and recorded between 1979 and 1983, are a study in contrasts. The full-throated vocals of Peter Murphy compete with the riffage of Daniel Ash's guitar, which shrieks with layers of overabundant echo or, in other cases, simply blazes with rock and roll authority. The rhythm section is the grout in the tile, as they say, but this grout is gorgeous andas if made from crushed pearlswith dub and R&B influences that both groove and spook.
While known to most folks mainly for the nine minutes of goth heaven that is "Bela Lugosi's Dead" (watch the group's 2005 performance of this track at Coachella on YouTube wherein Murphy sings the entirety of the song hanging upside down), the band had a far-reaching musical influence on everyone from Nine Inch Nails to Sepultura and Jane's Addiction to Radiohead, but it's the social influence of the music that continues to bring people who feel like outsiders together.
That social influence is what created the Bauhaus Montana tribute group. The brainchild of Dave Parsons (Juveniles), the group features members of the Cure Music tribute band who played at the Palace last year, including guitarist Hank Donovan (Magpies) and bassist Shane Hickey (Ukulele Band and formerly of Volumen), this time adding drummer Colin Uriah-Johnson (Skin Flowers, Shahs) and vocalist Jon Richter (department chair and instructor at Salish Kootenai College). According to Hickey, "The driving force behind the Bauhaus Montana project is Dave's and Jon's shared experience of growing up in Havre, Mont., and loving the shit out of Bauhaus. You know, just listening to In the Flat Field and cursing your town and whatnot."
For the upcoming performance, the band intends to play some deep cuts"Terror Couple Kill Colonel," "God in an Alcove," and "Sanity Assassin"and, you know, "Bela Lugosi's Dead," too. And Hickey says that there is talk of a big wooden trunk with lights inside of it.
Bauhaus Montana plays the Palace Sat., Oct. 26, at 10 PM. $5.