Friday, September 11, 1998
University of London Union
by Sandra and Mike Murkaster-Cascade
After the fantastic 2 nights, 1st at The Lux & then up in Edinburgh, it was almost hard to be get as excited for the London ULU dates- could they match up to those high standards? Well it's a close one to call coz Sioux & Budgie had an ace up their sleeves...
Having got to the venue (our friend Caroline came with us) we were relieved to be allowed in before the doors were opened to use the toilets & then surprised to discover the toilets were on the same floor as the Dressing Room, & then delighted to bump into Budgie wandering off from the Dressing Room (we could see Sioux sitting on the floor inside writing something as the door swung closed), and say hello to him. You could tell he was looking foward to the gig from the spring in his walk. You could almost sense he was geeing himself up for his highly energetic performance. Well that certainly pushed up the excitement levels. We returned to the queue outside and once the doors were opened rushed to the front of the hall--only to find out that other people had stayed inside the building before the outside doors were opened, and had already got the center of the stage occupied. We went to the right side & were just by the Tom-toms, which is becoming our regular spot! The hall itself is on the 1st floor &, I presume, is used as a theatre most of the time. There is a small upstairs seated area (where the mixing desk was) and the stage itself is quite deep although the back was curtained off. You could see there was a lot of lighting equipment. There was no barrier at the front (oh good, less worries about stupid security guards) so we were leaning on the stage itself, about 3 foot high. It's a bit of a shame that the tom-toms were pushed so far to the front as it did restrict our view a bit.
Alan Vega didn't appear after all, so a couple of guys who didn't bother to share who they were with us did the support slot. It was all sampler based + guitar which you couldn't hear. We found them quite boring as they played as if they were rehearsing in their bedrooms. No vocals either.
The lights dimmed and the ambient intro music began, & the crowd cheered & pushed forward. Siouxsie came on wearing, big breath, PVC multi-coloured, patchwork flares, a turqoise PVC top slashed open across the chest, with a pretty black lace bolero with big bell shaped sleeves on top. Sounds weird but Sioux makes it work! Budgie was wearing his fishnet top, his leggings & his hockey skirt. They exploded into action with 2nd Floor & away we went. Tonight Budgie was on duty behind his drum kit all the way until the 11th song, Prettiest Thing, and a huge number of people now know what's coming when he heads for those tom-toms. It's clear this has already become a huge favourite. Being right in front of the drums we even got treated to the sweat flying off of him. Being that close is an amazing experience. Budgie remained out for the rest of the main set, taking the guitar for I Was Me & B-side Ourselves (something went wrong with the guitar at 1 point but I can't remember what happened! I think the lead came out or something). Then he was back to our side of the stage for Exterminating Angel, the last song of the main set.
During the break we watched with excitement as some extra mics were set up--having read about the brass players in LA were we in for the same sort of treat? Indeed we were, with a 3 piece brass section they played Standing There, Murdering Mouth with Sioux doing all the vocals (except "at the center" added by the male bass/guitar player), Killing Time- so soulful- AND THEN she beckoned 2 transvestites on for backing vocals to Right Now &, after a discussion about how much it would cost them to play after their deadline with someone to the side of the stage, ended the night with a party atmosphere playing The Passenger.
After the show we went back upstairs and did manage to get a quick word with Siouxsie as she was dashing off somewhere. A wonderful night & thanks to the ULU for putting the toilets where they are!