Star Hits ('87)

Siouxsie and the Banshees
New York City

You're traveling through another dimension; a dimension where you might have a good time, but, then again, you might not. A journey into a weird land whose boundaries are a lack of enthusiasm. That's the signpost up ahead- "Siouxsie and the Banshees Live!" You want more details? Well, okay...

It's like this: you always expect to be totally thrilled by the first song, so you can...y'know, get up on your feet, dance, be glad to be there? Well, the houselights go down, big roar, the band feigns excitement by running onstage and... You sort of expect something to happen now, right? But it is almost a full, very uncomfortable minute before the recorded introduction to "Dazzle" swells from the speakers. Obviously, the momentum is pfffft, and for a fast song, this "Dazzle" is the dullest.

Perhaps the Banshees did that on purpose so we could get used to their "visual effects." An annoyingly bright light directed at our eyes only momentarily distracts us from Siouxsie's new short 'do (yes, her crimped, teased mop is at the end of a stick somewhere). This is nothing compared to her punk-zulu look of spandex bodysuit with puffs of pink fur here and there.

The loss of guitarist John Carruthers is sorely felt, as his replacement, a really tall, sorta rock 'n' rolly guy, musically lends *nada* new to the Banshees. On the other hand, there is the new synthesist, whose subtle full wash of sound covers up the rest of the band's lazy playing.

Why haven't you heard anything about the music yet? Because, and wotta bummer, except for a few bright moments, the Banshees simply play, nearly groaning as they push out old favorites "Christine," "Melt," "Hong Kong Garden" and a few others. By contrast, "Hall of Mirrors" is sharp and mysterious, the sensual "Slowdive" features actual cello accompaniment by the synth guy and "Cities In Dust" really gets the fur flying. 

But something smells bad. And that something was that only the new guitarist seems to be "into it"; the rest of the Banshees don't seem to care that there's a room full of people who've come to see them. Sure, a band can't be "on" every night, but the Banshees seem positively pissed off. And why? Siouxsie's sole utterance of the evening comes after "Arabian Knights" and is directed to her record company: "Hello to Geffen, who don't follow up." Gee, that sure means a lot to me. Thank God she got *that* out of her system.

They end on their second encore, the eerie "Trust In Me." Too late.

Suzan Colon

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