Call of the deathbird: ‘Nosferatu’ comes to Marion Art Center with live music

Feb 28, 2023

MARION — Nosferatu! That name alone can chill the blood! Nosferatu! Was it he who brought the plague to the Marion Art Center on Saturday, Feb. 25? 

Not quite. Progressive rocker Paul Bielatowicz and his band performed an original soundtrack Bielatowicz wrote for the 1922 silent film “Nosferatu,” the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel “Dracula.”

The show featured Bielatowicz on electric guitar, acoustic guitar, keyboard and theremin while his bandmates Dave Bainbridge, Leah Bluestein, Mike Dutko, Peter Zay and Simon Fitzpatrick  played pre-recorded parts on video screens.

“I wrote [the score] over the pandemic,” Bielatowicz said. “I usually tour with other people and when all touring stopped I retreated to my studio and set myself a challenge of writing a song every single day for my Patreon page.”

Patreon is an online service where people can support artists with donations and receive exclusive access to the artist’s work. 

Bielatowicz wrote many of the songs for Nosferatu before he settled on a “cohesive project.” The song “Have Coffin, Will Travel,” which plays while the vampire Count Orlok travels from his castle, was written on a livestream.

Eventually, Bielatowicz decided to take his songs and apply them to a larger project.

“I heard that Nosferatu’s 100th anniversary was coming up and that it was in the public domain so I could do what I want to with it — so the stars aligned,” he said. “And it’s about a plague as well, so it seemed perfect.”

Even without a full band on stage — although some members watched from the audience — the Marion Art Center’s packed theater was filled with electrifying, thumping and heavy music designed to complement director F.W. Murnau's classic work of German Expressionism.

According to Bielatowicz, the Marion Art Center was a great venue to feature his work. 

“Venue really matters for something like this because I feel like an audience will behave the way a venue would suggest they do,” he said. 

“If you play this in a dirty rock club the audience will be really rowdy,” continued Bielatowicz. “Likewise, I played an art cinema on this tour and it was the worst show of the tour because people were in cinema mode and just sat there with their popcorn — there was no cheering and no excitement.”

The audience at the Marion Art Center cheered after intense guitar solos and some viewers were even headbanging in the back row.

The show opened with a recorded narration by Arthur Brown, a 1960s rock star who wrote the chart-topping song “Fire”, before Bielatowicz launched into a nearly two-hour concert timed perfectly with the film.

Bielatowicz’s show at the Marion Art Center was the second-to-last stop on his “Nosferatour” that began last October. 

Now, with the tour winding down, Bielatowicz hopes to make this performance even bigger before going back on tour with a full band later this year.

“I think that before we record [the music] properly it will grow more as well,” he said. “We’re talking about putting more string players in.”

Paul Bielatowicz’s music can be found online on Patreon and Youtube.