The Welcome Return of Love and Rockets (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mickey McCarter)
In 2022, Bauhaus headlined the inaugural Cruel World festival, delivering a captivating performance under a blood-red moon that left the tens of thousands of concert-goers buzzing.
In 2023, Love and Rockets, consisting of all Bauhaus members except frontman Peter Murphy, returned to Cruel World for a well-received turn that launched a new phase of that band. Love and Rockets made their way across the country and weeks later appeared at The Fillmore Silver Spring. The very full room readily embraced the trio, suggesting a very good future indeed for Love and Rockets.
When the 2022 Bauhaus reunion sputtered out upon Peter Murphy’s return to rehab, Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J apparently decided they were done working with their bandmate, and they revived the Love and Rockets banner. As Love and Rockets, the gents released seven very well-liked full-length albums from 1985-1998, after the original dissolution of Bauhaus. Although Love and Rockets called it a day in 1999, the members of the band continued to work together including on a brief Love and Rockets reunion in 2007-2009.
Daniel, Kevin, and David wisely have embraced the fact that they make pretty compelling music together, and thus they have soldiered on without Mr. Murphy by returning to Love and Rockets — a very good move all around. And at The Fillmore Silver Spring on June 11, people demonstrated their agreement by happily dancing within the band’s psychedelic atmospherics.
The positive audience reception to Love and Rockets’ performance extended from selections from their debut record, Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven (1985), through their self-titled fourth album (1989) to their last studio record, Lift (1998) — although their penultimate record Sweet FA (1996) received better placement with its title track as the sole song of a second encore and its “Judgement Day” poised as a hazy rocker capping the first leg of the show early in the set.
Still for songs that truly stuck with you, the audience readily embraced that fourth record and its three live selections in this concert — “I Feel Speed” and “No Big Deal” as a one-two punch at the very start of the show and then bonafide hit “So Alive” at the midpoint of the performance. Daniel Ash took lead vocals on “So Alive,” which is his song after all, and added an appropriate hushed Lou Reed tone to the song’s color.
Watch the official music video for “So Alive” by Love and Rockets on YouTube:
Long associated with goth acts because of their career start in Bauhaus, Love and Rockets is overdue for a critical reevaluation as a fully realized psychedelic act that leans heavily into chill extended instrumental flourishes and stage whispered vocals. Other bands of course have tread this ground, mixing goth melancholy and psychedelics — most notably perhaps The Damned — but well the glam and glittery Love and Rockets gents seem pretty darn upbeat most of the time.
Love and Rockets wrap their current run of dates back in Los Angeles on June 20, but let’s hope that Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins, and David J realize they have a good thing going. The press materials for Love and Rockets point out some of the bands that followed in their wake — The Dandy Warhols, Jane’s Addiction, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and even The Flaming Lips — very good bands indeed. Love and Rockets easily could find themselves back on the top of the conversation among those bands with some new material and a commitment to stick around a while.
To open the show at The Fillmore, Love and Rockets brought their pal Vinsantos, a New Orleans artist who wasn’t afraid to speak his heart as a gay man. His frankness and kindness undoubtedly won over some new admirers at The Fillmore Silver Spring.
Here are some photos of Vinsantos opening for Love and Rockets at The Fillmore Silver Spring on June 11, 2023. All picture copyright and courtesy of Jason Nicholson.
Here are some photos of Love and Rockets performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on June 11, 2023. All picture copyright and courtesy of Jason Nicholson.