David J with Mark Miller – at Casa Citialin – Bakersfield, CA
September 19, 2014
A small, invite-only audience in East Bakersfield was witness to a unique entry in their local music history last Friday, September 19: they were treated to a special private performance by David J, the bassist for the legendary bands Bauhaus and Love and Rockets.
The entire show was the brainchild of Noelia and Jose Citialin who opened their house (and a seemingly perpetually stocked bar) to an intimate group of friends, who were never unaware of their great luck to part of the event. Along with the "invite only" status, there was but one request on the RSVP: Wear. Black.
Mark Miller, who would later share the stage with David J, opened the show with a short solo set of his own, which included an amazing cover of Tom Waits', "Chocolate Jesus".
Eschewing his usual instrument, J played his set on acoustic guitar while charming his listeners in -between songs with a few anecdotes about his life that he wrote about in his upcoming memoir “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?" (Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction). One of the highlight of the evening was a story that occurred during the last Bauhaus reunion (who are, arguably, basically the Goth world’s Beatles) in 2006 involving singer Peter Murphy and porn legend Ron Jeremy. The story, also told in detail in his memoir, brought attention to the fact that he has not only had a prolific career as a musician, but he has contributed to projects with legendary comic book writer Alan Moore as well as in songwriting and performances with Amanda Palmer, Porno For Pyros and Jane’s Addiction amongst many others. And now, a bourgeoning author.
Along with the release of his book, he has started a kickstarter campaign to help with his upcoming book tour (it’s his second one after a very successful one that helped with the creation of his last CD “An Eclipse Of Ships”). If you would like to contribute to his campaign, click HERE
J and his backing guitarist Mark Miller ran through a gamut of styles: country, blues, contemplative Dylanesque ballads and eerie sonic soundscapes carried out effectively with a ping-pong delayed guitar—the epitome of acoustic Bat-cave music.
Starting his set with a Bauhaus song (“Who Killed Mr. Moonlight”) and culminating with two Love and Rockets songs (their perennial anthem “No New Tale To Tell” and “Waiting For The Flood”—much to the euphoric delight of Mrs. Citialin), J performed like a man half his age (he turned 57 this year) and had a confident relaxed stage presence that made him appear like a dark cabaret David Bowie and, believe it or not, a bit of a British-goth Hank Williams Sr. as well.
Sticking mainly to new material, a big surprise came with his cover of “Wrecking Ball”, the song made famous by Miley Cyrus. It was an illumination in the realization of how good a song it can be in the right hands and context) the songs were tight, and played expertly.
The mood of the songs were highlighted by his poolside stage set-up; perched in front of a fake hacienda with fans sitting on patios, deck chairs, and even the diving board, enraptured by his light vocal timbre and the green lit deck and reflections on the water. The backyard setting was a perfect compliment to the dark night sky and casual intimacy that would have been difficult to replicate in a traditional stage setting.
I am a huge believer that it’s not how well the performance was, but how the audience reacts after it, that determines the show’s success. In every sense, this one-of-a-kind show was exactly that —a success—on every level. It was also a wonderful reunion for local and out-of-town friends that made the long drives to catch the show.
Along with Peter Murphy’s performance at Narducci’s Cafe in 2012, this makes the second member of Bauhaus to grace the Central Valley with their presence and talent. Maybe, in the future, guitarist Daniel Ash and (David J’s brother) drummer Kevin Haskings will play Bakersfield and make it a Bauhaus reunion by proxy.
Stranger, and darker, things have happened.
More photos of the show can be seen HERE
Big Wheel Contributor
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