Sounds (11.8.80)

Snoozy Sioux

Siouxsie And The Banshees

Something seems to have got the Locarno management seriously paranoid tonight. Never before in all the time Iíve come here have I witnessed the ordinary punter getting such a hassle gaining admittance. Herded into sheepish groups on every landing, only allowed to approach the door in twos and having to submit to a body search before they even take the ticket - Is this really what going out for an eveningís entertainment is coming to?

What is it about Siouxsie And The Banshees that attracts such devotion I wonder, surveying the heaving, trad punk, crowd. Is it the same original survivors syndrome that guarantees the Clash their audience, never mind how glib and irrelevant theyíve become? That must be a large part of it I fear, for if they were all true blue music connoisseurs then theyíd have paid more attention to Altered Images, the support group. Not that I found them particularly invigorating myself, but they did warm up the rhythm to the right blood heat and pass as approachably modern, in spite of the female singer being a hasty tuck and sew job of everyone from Lene Lovich to Hazel OíConnor to Siouxsie herself.

Commencing in the by now familiar dirge like fashion Iíve learned to avoid, like the Gang Of Four or Joy Division, the Banshees push stark hypnotics to the point of drabness, perhaps even sleep if Iíd had the good fortune of leaning against something comfortable. Yet intermittently they can pull off some real gems.

The most engaging moment of the set for me was around the time an acoustic guitar began to poke through. I donít know the name of the song, but it had a deep poignant beauty about it, which was both uplifting and frustrating. It showed the depth of thought and feeling they are capable of, yet much of the set consists of two dimensional shuffles drifting nowhere. Predictably such things as "Happy House" gain the most crowd response, which only underlines for me the feeling that a lot of these people just arenít listening but merely attending another gig, one to be collected rather than savoured.

Towards the end my attention went completely and I ended up in aimless chatter with friends on the periphery of the event. This is the second time Iíve had Siouxsie And The Banshees ignite sparks in me, only to have them snuffed out almost immediately.


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