The Daily Telegraph (October 07, 2004, Thursday)

Punk never sounded this good in '76Review

By Andrew Perry


Siouxsie Sioux

100 club, london w1

"WELCOME to the legendary 100 Club," announced Siouxsie Sioux, as if ushering her fans into her own front room. "And do you know why it's legendary?" she added later. "You know, apart from the obvious? Because it was the only place that would allow the Sex Pistols to play. So," she concluded with a matador-style flourish of the hand, "bravo!"

It was little wonder that, at this first of three shows at the Oxford Street basement,

Ms Sioux remarked on the venue's import. It was within the 100 Club's clammy, subterranean walls that, in 1976, she and a nascent formation of her Banshees made their debut at the Punk Rock Festival. With Sid Vicious on drums, their set that night consisted of one 20-minute version of the Lord's Prayer, mostly improvised, completely unlistenable. Twenty-eight years on, there was no such amateurishness about Siouxsie's act. She was joined initially by Leonard Eto, former director of Japan's Kodo drummers, and, as ever, by her husband Budgie, himself a masterful tub-thumper, for a few songs from Hai!, that trio's 2003 album as the Creatures.

Despite the presence of a guitarist-cum-bassist, keyboard player, and ravishing twin backing singers, the sound was dominated by pounding, complex rhythms and Siouxsie's whooping voice, which, recent respiratory problems notwithstanding, seemed in great shape.

Indeed, adorned by an arrangement of red and black feathers erupting from her head, and a black and white silken top which set new standards for the plunging neckline, punk's first lady was in clover, commanding the cramped stage, shimmying and giggling with the front rows.

Siouxsie, now resident in southern France, was last spotted here three years ago performing an "absolutely final" Banshees reunion. In her mind, the Banshees and the Creatures have always been separate endeavours, so it was a pleasant surprise, rapturously received, when Happy House, Dear Prudence and Christine cascaded forth. Interspersed between more Creatures songs, Kiss Them for Me was pristine, ultra-modern and pumping. Amid the lovely commotion of Arabian Nights, Eto, one of the world's foremost percussionists, cavorted around, clashing a pair of cymbals.

Unlike any performance I've ever witnessed in the 100 Club's ever-prosaic surroundings, this one was truly other-worldly. If punk's spirit was about re-arranging rock's furniture and finding your own individual ways to dress, play and live, here it was, in full effect. And, almost three decades on, it sounded tons better.

Siouxsie Sioux plays the 100 Club, London W1 (020 7636 0933), tonight, and as part of the Mind Your Head season, Festival Hall, London SE1 (0870 3800 400), Oct 15 and 16.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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