Take Me Back - Siouxsie & The Banshees - In A Pagan Place – St. James Church, London, 10.04.85
Label: Not On Label (Siouxsie & The Banshees) - none • Format: Cassette Unofficial Release C-90 • Genre: Rock • Style: Goth Rock, Post-Punk
Fur Bible Scientists. Not complete or in correct order. As the media hype constantly reminds you, this is the 10th anniversary of punk. Siouxsie and the Banshees are one of the few pioneers still alive and kicking. They've survived by sticking to their original gothic vision while refining and polishing their sound. Massey Hall proved a far more suitable venue, sight and sound wise, than that of their last visit, the dreary International Centre.
As is her wont, Siouxsie didn't make it easy for the audience, concentrating on as yet unfamiliar material from the new Banshees LP, Tinderbox, rather than warming them up with favorites from the previous eight albums. Hong Kong Garden, Spellbound, and Dear Prudence were conspicuously absent, but Happy House and Christine 10.04.85 well-received by the near-capacity crowd. The concert kicked off dramatically--dry ice and red curtain rising to the earthquake riffs of Cities In Dust.
Siouxsie entered sporting a medieval cowgirl look, all in trademark black and white, and immediately proved she still has the lung capacity to wail, warble, and yodel magnificently above the high-decibel assault of her three Banshee buddies.
The voice is versatile enough to move from slowburn dirges like Pull To 10.04.85 to neo-metal attacks, with guitarist John Carruthers being equally adaptable. Earlier knee injuries were forgotten as she prowled the stage with animal grace, but again typically she made no attempt to ingratiate 10.04.85 with the audience, 'good night' and no encore being her final and only response.
The lightning effects were uniformly impressive, while a rare flash of humor was provided courtesy of puppets dancing atop speakers during Happy House. A reference to the domestic cruelty of Punch and Judy fits the Siouxsie image well; she's the kind of gal who'd write a love song to open-heart surgery! Rebellion has turned into ritual. Kerry Doole. Candyman Lands End Night Shift.
It's a funny thing, punk. Here we are, eight or nine years 10.04.85 the revolution. Its foremost practitioners, the Sex Pistols, have Pacific 231 - RMX Evocation Africa since exploded in their own slipstream.
The Clash became confused somewhere along the way and became a rock band; you know, like Pink Floyd. They don't work for a living anymore. But Siouxsie's still going, out to exercise some new material on guinea-pig audiences around nation. What an audience it is, too. Seasoned Goths mix with insurance clerks and pink-faced apprentice punks.
Sensibly dressed girls wobble one knee to the bassy beat and sing along. For some reason, there seem to be a lot of people, dressed made-up and coiffured like Edna O' Brien.
Whatever would she say? Much drama at the start. A curtain covers the lip of a cloth-constructed Are You Ok? - The Tidal Sleep / Svalbard - Split. What will be inside? Just the band and a couple of sets of crossed fluorescent tubes.
So there it is - the face that released a thousand shutters. She looks like Theda Bara, vamp of the silent screen, after a strict diet. Left and right she rotates her head just like a Dalek and makes window-cleaning motions with her arms.
If Siouxsie is trying to tell us something, I can't imagine what it could be. A quarter of the crowd pogoes in front of me. The floor, being a post-punk design, gives rather too much, flipping me up and down. The rest of the punters sit back in the tiered seats, passing chocolates, no doubt.
When's she gonna do 'Hong Kong Garden'? What about the marzipans? The band, meanwhile, plays more window-cleaning music. Siouxsie moves accordingly. Severin plays rock 'n' roll on his bass. My backbones almost reacts but, no, the rest of the band decide not to go along with it.
New boy guitarist looks down assiduously at his guitar, thinking, probably, 'would Robert do it like this'? The whole band plays rock 'n' roll on the middle section of yet another new one. And now a tired old version of 'Christine'. Ho hum. Listen, what's the difference between Siouxsie Sioux and Bonnie Tyler?
Two short encores and they're off to the hotel London, I expect, an early night. Seriously though, what is the difference between Siouxsie and Bonnie Tyler? Robert Graham. Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God well, his son anyway to witness the union of Siouxsie And The Banshees with their reputation.
The stirring church organ piped through the smoke and nurtured solemn expectation. Budgie piled into his drums with 'Icon', the leaded glass bowed outward, the crowd surged forward, and all eyes focused on the Gothic Diva beneath stained glass, Siouxsie, the untarnished high-priestess of punk who spits roses, still has a chaste voice that seduces warmth and intrigue, and a debilitating scream that demands the surrender of all senses.
There's no earthly reason why this funeral pump and heady beat should provoke such a vehement reaction from the erupting pews.
But what need of reason when 'Cascade', and the new unpolished 'Cannons' crippled sense, distorted rhyme, Take Me Back - Siouxsie & The Banshees - In A Pagan Place – St. James Church emotion, yet healed these wounds Take Me Back - Siouxsie & The Banshees - In A Pagan Place – St.
James Church suspense. While 'Night Shift' chimed with spirals of morbid decay - a descent that never slackened, and never questioned. What need of questions when conviction can tailor answers?
Half the band departed, and a music box of intricate delight opened with Andy Flowerpot Man's keyboards which groomed a childish and perverse nightmare that galloped into the light of 'Mother' and 'I Promise' but, sadly and as usualthe Banshees were unable to maintain their momentum throughout the set, and lulled the audience into a sense of false security and alarming indifference - mainly caused by the heavy weight of new material exhibited without the light relief of past triumphs.
The dimmed reaction was vanquished by the pulverising force of 'Painted Bird', where ringing guitar strings arched over Severin's underpinning and Sioux's coy, detached I — Morning Mood – - Grieg* - Griegs Greatest Hits. Spirits rose even Caroline - Gay Kiss - Preservation Measures with 'Halloween', causing a riot in the aisles, as jagged phrases were torn from the bowels of Take Me Back - Siouxsie & The Banshees - In A Pagan Place – St.
James Church and hurled with torrid abuse into vistas of exotic fantasy: a dream sustained by 'Monitor' with ritual gusto. Drenched in rousing fervour, the second encore 'Israel' a later day 'Jerusalem'? What need of heroin and death when nights such as these can take such flight? Kaiser Arena. Denis Theatre. Austell, Cornwall Coliseum. George's Hall. Record Mirror Ted Mico.
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