LA Weekly (October 1, 2004)


By Paul Rogers


at House of Blues, September 22

The early-'80s British post-punk scene was full of sonic adventure, and many a band y Siouxsie and the Banshees, Southern Death Cult, Bow Wow Wow y explored with gusto the grafting of tribal rhythms onto rock's guitar-defined template. Though their fellow Banshees flew the gloomy-glam coop ages ago, Siouxsie Sioux and husband-drummer Budgie have continued to pursue multiethnic beats and imagery, arriving tonight with a show dominated by percussion.

Like a true diva, Siouxsie keeps us waiting nearly an hour, then her friends assemble without her: Budgie; a percussionist in full ceremonial breastplate; twin (literally) gal backup singers; keys; and a guitarist-bassist. A hypnotic rhythmic tattoo established, Sioux swirls on to yelps from this mixed-bag, mostly 30s crowd, her red-and-black robe and cockatiel hair part geisha, part Princess Leia. Svelte and still spunky, vogueing like some burlesque dervish, Siouxsie's in fine fettle, utterly living up to her goth-goddess status.

Her newer material, which dominates the front of tonight's set, is not as esoteric as rumored: While it's drum-circle indulgent and sometimes wincingly melodramatic, there are songs and structure amid the stylings. Siouxsie's voice, as ever, can begin a phrase or even a vowel as a menacing male lament, and mutate by line's end into a shrill Medusa semi-yodel, a signature androgyny that demands and commands attention.

Nostalgia is satiated by subtly reworked versions of the Banshees staples "Kiss Them for Me," "Christine" and the longtime cover fave "Dear Prudence," but ultimately the tone and integrity of this performance are what linger. Nearly 30 years after she staggered onto the stage at London's 100 Club (alongside one Sid Vicious), Susan Ballion continues to define herself as Siouxsie Sioux, cultured international icon, defiantly living out her adolescent daydream. And that's punk rock, that is.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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