Tuesday, July 28, 1998
Chicago, Illinois

Rock review, The Creatures; John Cale

By Joshua Klein
Special to the Tribune

As a punk icon, Siouxsie Sioux's cultural import has been pretty marginal. Her band the Banshees was not nearly as political as other female-fronted punk bands or as influential as many of its contemporaries.

For those reasons, Sioux (born Susan Dallion) has too often been reduced to a fashion template, a sex symbol for the black-clad set. The Creatures, a percussion-heavy project led by Sioux and her faithful drummer Budgie, was in some ways an attempt to inject some life into The Banshees' progressively blase outlook, a way to shift the focus from Sioux and back to the music.

John Cale's cultural import, on the other hand, cannot be overstated. As a founding member of the Velvet Underground, the Welsh multi-instrumentalist and his bandmates sowed the musical seeds for nearly every underground band in the past 25 years. The fact that he also produced records by Patti Smith, the Stooges and Jonathan Richman further solidified his place in the rock pantheon.

But as a solo artist, Cale, like the Creatures, is pretty much a cult curiosity. The Creatures' choice of Cale as a tour mate was an inspired move, and the crowd at Metro on Tuesday night was treated to an intriguing mix of all the talents involved.

Cale, backed by a band that included Budgie, began with a short set of his own songs. "Fear Is a Man's Best Friend" and "Riverbank" satisfied the few die-hard Cale fans in attendance, but everybody burst into applause when Siouxsie Sioux, dressed in a shiny black leather suit, slunk out to sing "Hedda Gabler" with Cale.

Cale then left the stage to the Creatures, setting the tag-team tone of the evening. The Creatures' exotic cabaret music was dreary, but Sioux, Budgie, and the other musicians approached the songs with a sense of relaxed fun no doubt encouraged by the already selective nature of the show.

After all, much of the set comprised new songs, including "Disconnected" and "Prettiest Thing" from the group's upcoming "Anima Animus," and older Creatures' songs such as "Venus Sands" and "Miss the Girl" are still somewhat obscure to all but the most Sioux-obsessed.

Sioux vamped to the extreme to draw the audience into the relatively unfamiliar material, and Budgie's intricate tribal rhythms helped keep the crowd entranced.

Soon enough, though, Cale was back on stage for a rough rendition of Richman's "Pablo Picasso" and a harrowing solo version of "Heartbreak Hotel." He brought out his trusty viola for a sultry take on the VU standard "Venus in Furs," with Sioux adding an element of seductive camp to Lou Reed's lyrics.

Cale, Sioux and crew then rolled through Cale's "Gun," which Sioux and Budgie had covered with the Banshees.

The performers may not have revealed many surprises, but Cale and the Creatures left their respective cults satisfied.

Copyright Chicago Tribune (c) 1998 July 29

by Damona GothMilk

a few things about my trip to chicago last night:

i have never taken the same route to the metro...i always end up getting 'lost' and winding my way around until i get there...

for once in my life, i found a GREAT parking spot within two blocks of the metro...i'm sure this will never happen again for as long as i live...

the show started somewhat on time...Cale came out...did about 4 songs...Sioux emeged from the shadows...crowd went nuts...she smiled...she sang...and for the person who said that she looked fat...get your eyes checked...she looked did Budgie... he played his heart out...sticks were flying...also, there are some rude assed people in chicago...when someone says 'excuse me' that means that a person is being polite, and would like you to move just a bit out of the way, so that they can move through...i wonder why a person pays $30 for a ticket and goes to a show to lean against the bar, not watch the show, and pays $4.50 for a drink... i didn't write down the set list, but most of the stuff was new... only 3-4 songs from their first 2 albums...the t-shirts were $20 ...white...looked like the album cover from Eraser Cut...and the cities they were going to be in on the back...3 pins for $2...and they had the Eraser Cut c.d. for $12...i didn't get a t-shirt, but got 2 sets of pins, and one c.d....yeah, the c.d. is more expensive at the show compared to on-line or in stores, but i figured that the band would get all the money (or most of it) from the sale... as my friend and i were leaving, the people that worked at the metro were passing out free tickets for tonight's show...i don't think they sold out for last night's show, but it was packed...pretty sad that they are having to give away tickets for the 2nd night...considering that bauhaus has sold out 2 nights at another place in chicago (which i think is a larger venue)...Sioux said something about the 'ice bitch is back'...and went off on doing things themselves without a record label backing them...and that they were gone for awhile, but won't be gone for such a long time, the next time around... she had big hair at the start of the show...and by the end of the night, she had it slicked back and was wearing a black hat...sort of like a cowboy hat, but flat on top...

well, that's about it...later daze...i'm going back to bed...jul

by Alien Rendel

I saw the Creatures/John Cale show Tuesday at the Cabaret Metro in Chicago and just wanted to pass along a short review.  The setlist was pretty similar to the others from this tour and included: Riverbank, Hedda Gabbler, Disconnected, Prettiest Thing, Tattoo, Pluto Drive, Heartbreak Hotel, Gun, Miss the Girl, Murdering Mouth, and Venus In Furs.  I got there early and it wasn't very crowded at first, but filled up as soon as the music started.  I'm a John Cale fan and was very excited to see him.  I thought he sounded great, his voice sounded very deep and resonant and his keyboard playing was great.  It was obvious that the crowd was more interested in seeing the Creatures; some idiot next to me talked all the way through "Heartbreak Hotel" which was the quietest song of the night. John Cale seemed really into playing in front of people and looked like he was having a great time, even though most of the audience was unfamiliar with his material.

Of course, the crowd went wild when Siouxsie appeared to duet with Cale on "Hedda Gabbler".  I was really impressed with the Creatures coming out and playing so much new material to challenge their audience.  The 3 backing musicians did a pretty good job, but none of them seemed very enthusiastic about what they were doing.  That was okay, because Siouxsie & Budgie more than made up for it with their strong perormance.  Towards the end of the night Budgie came out from behind the set and pounded on some big drums, laying down a wild tribal beat and exuding good vibes all over the place. He even played an acoustic guitar on one song (which Siouxsie introduced by saying, "Don't make him nervous, it's not his instrument!"), which I thought was pretty impressive.  Siouxsie herself showed off all the moves that taught the goths how to dance as well as some pretty amazing kicks. She has toned down a lot on the vocal gymnastics that she used in the Banshees, prefering simpler melodies to put the focus more on her lyrics, it seems.

The 3 song encore, with Cale back on stage playing electric violin, was extrordinary and I got to hear "Venus In Furs", one of my favorite VU songs.  Siouxsie ended the night by saying, "See you tomorrow.", knowing that many of her die-hard fans would be back for more...

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