Music Express (July '86)

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Massey Hall


As the media hype constantly reminds you, this is the 10th anniversary of punk. Siouxsie and the Banshees are one of the few pioneers still alive and kicking. They've survived by sticking to their original gothic vision while refining and polishing their sound.

Massey Hall proved a far more suitable venue, sight and sound wise, than that of their last visit, the dreary International Centre. As is her wont, Siouxsie didn't make it easy for the audience, concentrating on as yet unfamiliar material from the new Banshees LP, Tinderbox, rather than warming them up with favorites from the previous eight albums. Hong Kong Garden, Spellbound, and Dear Prudence were conspicously absent, but Happy House and Christine were well-received by the near-capacity crowd.

The concert kicked off dramatically--dry ice and red curtain rising to the earthquake riffs of Cities In Dust. Siouxsie entered sporting a medieval cowgirl look, all in trademark black and white, and immediately proved she still has the lung capacity to wail, warble, and yodel magnificently above the high-decibel assault of her three Banshee buddies. The voice is versatile enough to move from slowburn dirges like Pull To Bits to neo-metal attacks, with guitarist John Carruthers being equally adaptable. Earlier knee injuries were forgotten as she prowled the stage with animal grace, but again typically she made no attempt to ingratiate herself with the audience, 'good night' and no encore being her final and only response.

The lightning effects were uniformly impressive, while a rare flash of humor was provided courtesy of puppets dancing atop speakers during Happy House. A reference to the domestic cruelty of Punch and Judy fits the Siouxsie image well; she's the kind of gal who'd write a love song to open-heart surgery!

'86 vintage Banshees definitely derserve wider recognition here, but those who, like me, were around for their early glory days can't help being a mite sorry to witness the inevitable progression from spontaneous amateurism to sophisticated professionalism. Rebellion has turned into ritual.

Kerry Doole

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