Siouxsie Sioux @ Meltdown
Yoko Ono was up in the Royal Box orchestrating proceedings through her trademark large sun glasses, Viv Albertine (formerly of the Slits) sadly failed to be a convincing support act whilst Siouxsie Sioux, resplendent in an ever changing combination of shiny white vinyl layers, leather straps, hats and tails, blew us all away with a quite magnificent show… her first live outing for over five years, although you never would have guessed.
I’d never seen Siouxsie, either with or without the Banshees (John McGeoch with the Armoury Show was the closest I’d got) but And had back in the 80’s, and just prior to going to take our seats inside the RFH, we couldn’t help but reflect on the differences in going to gigs twixt then and now… Then: £3.50 tickets, venue scum on the floor, going as part of a big group, plastic beer glasses and drunk students, all in an atmosphere dense with cigarette smoke, testosterone and patchouli. Now: comfy seating, polite middle age respect, a predominance of couples and £35 tickets (plus booking fee of course)..
However as soon as Siouxsie came on, the audience roared with excitement, everyone stood up and as the opening riff of Happy House rang out, I’m sure it wasn’t just us that was immediately transported back to our younger selves…
As for the gig, it was much better than I thought it might be. The band played for two hours, the first half of which was the Kaleidoscope album (from 1980) played in order and in its entirety. Not an album I know very well (other than the two singles of course) but it sounded remarkably fresh after all these years, big guitars, big synths, even bigger drums and of course Siouxie’s huge voice bellowing out across the whole.. A voice that undoubtedly got stronger as the gig went on.
After some greatest hits, a couple of Creatures songs, a Jacques Brel torch song involving a cane chair and the ever wonderful Spellbound to close, we all left happy and smiling, our adolescent memories and tastes reassured and our ears ringing. She quipped she wouldn’t be back for another ten years during the show, but I for one hope it’s sooner than that.
She really was quite mesmerising, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of lines from my favorite Siouxsie & the Banshees song, about being entranced by a rag doll dance, only in this case it was the white vinyl clad Queen of punk who was doing the entrancing, and it was us who were all Spellbound and more than happy to follow…