Head of the Class

NEAR THE ATMOSPHERE: Bauhaus came to the Ventura Theater Saturday night and delivered both spectacle and substance, capturing the room with theatrical, energetic versions of its classic material. Following a fun, endearing opening set from Black Black (a three-person band including Bauhaus drummer Kevin Haskins’s two daughters Diva and Lola), the members of Bauhaus came out one at a time dressed in mostly black attire. The ironic cool of the band did not diminish the connection between the musicians and their impassioned audience, as Bauhaus tore through such classics as “She’s In Parties,” “In The Flat Field,” and “The Passion of Lovers.” Peter Murphy deftly moved about the stage, keeping everyone on their toes as his impeccable vocals shined throughout the night. Guitarist Daniel Ash (who now lives in Ojai) took the songs on jazzy sonic rides, invigorating them with his intense style. Peter and Daniel also performed on a multitude of additional instruments, while the rhythm section, brothers David J and Kevin Haskins, took it into overdrive with their distinct vibrating force. The evening built toward a climax. During a dead-on perfect performance of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust,” Murphy nailed the details of Bowie’s vocal inflections and the atmosphere exploded. Then, for the final encore, Bauhaus closed the show with the haunting fan favorite “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” lifting the devoted crowd into a state of gothic euphoria.  — Will Engel

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