Sunday, October 28, 2007

Siouxsie at Astoria II

The support act was utterly derivative of lots of things. The vocals were also very very Siouxsie. As Owen mused on his blog: Was somebody having a cruel laugh? Putting the imitative children on before the Grande Dame? Her vocals were watered down Banshees, but without substance, delivered in a blonde bob and mummy's shoes. I kept turning round and asking our friend Geoff 'Ooooh is it me or is this on Kaleidoscope?'...and 'Oh... i know this!... it's off JuJu!'... Actually, delving deeper, if that were possible but you know what I mean, they sounded more like they were doing a bad impression of Hazel O'Connor fronting Death Cult (yes, it IS an inspiring thought but that's ALL). F*cking Fantasy 80's. Let's play SOUNDALIKE. Not pleased... Anyway, thankfully, The Point of the evening arrived soon enough.

I expected the new album, plus a couple of extra things 'in progress', and maybe an encore of recent single 'Into a Swan' and a sparse Banshees b-side or Miss the Girl, as probably were most people. Well, of course she didn't do that but took to the stage and launched into Israel instead, which was thrilling but mildly outrageous without Severin and/or other Banshees.

Sadly it took a while for her voice to warm up but by the second tune Arabian Nights (Swoon! Gush!... *Stephen turns to PUTTY*!) it was fine. She looked great, and by and large sounded great; and she was really haughty and throwing old-school Banshee 'shapes' all over the shop. She even got her bells out. Fantastic.

The show was to promote Mantaray, and I knew the new songs already from listening to them while painting. My favourite is Here Comes That Day which is sad but gently furious at the same time. The new stuff belongs to the same 'sound world' as Classic Banshees but it's more polished. The songs don't have that edge of having been recorded through the night on drugs. For example, I can't imagine Robert Smith looking 'completely gone' wearing Raybans and feeling his way along a wall in
Venice to them if you get me. Actually talking about that video (the best video of the 80's in my opinion, that and View to a Kill), she did a great version of Dear Prudence that was pure psychedelia just as it should be.

Nightshift was sinister enough, and Hong Kong Garden during the encore, which isn't normally a fave of mine, was tremendous. The band were expert. In a way they played the songs 'better' than the Banshees ever did but I know a few people didn't go because they couldn't bear to hear session musicians murder Banshee classics. They weren't murdered, they just weren't quite the same but it still felt mildly wrong, morally speaking, for a gang of imposters to be tinkering with sacred history. On the other hand, I think Siouxsie should be allowed the chance... and what a back catalogue to plunder. I did feel howver that she could have been a bit less obvious once or twice: I'd rather hear Pulled to Bits or Coal Mind than Spellbound (that really is a bit 'SingalongaSiouxsie'), but I s'pose a girl's gotta sell tickets!

Siouxsie's on again at the Roundhouse next month. I can't wait, and I'm pleased she's finding a new lease of life going it alone as a glamorous divorcee. I like her better now. Living in France surrounded by cats always felt a bit cosy for Siouxsie who really should be out there exploring dangerous territories and kicking against the pricks. Talking of new leases of life all I need now is The Glove to reform (in a blast of bad acid!)... to really line up my formative heros! God I'd kill for a ticket to THAT comeback gig !