The Times (London) (October 18, 2004, Monday)

Siouxsie Sioux

Lisa Verrico

Siouxsie Sioux. Festival Hall ****

You could say that Siouxsie Sioux is having a comeback, but that began with the Banshees reunion tour in 2002 and simply picked up pace last autumn with the excellent Creatures album Hai!, a collaboration with the Japanese percussionist Leonard Eto. Earlier this month, Sioux polished her punk credentials by selling out a trio of shows in London at the 100 Club, the infamous Oxford Street basement where the Banshees made their live debut in 1976.

Perhaps the biggest test of Sioux's enduring popularity, however, came this weekend with two concerts at the Festival Hall. It was an odd venue for the former high priestess of punk to play and adding a string section -six violins, two cellos, a harp and a double bass -to sparse Creatures songs and angry Banshees classics was a risky business.

Still, the first night was sold out and by the time Sioux, her current Creatures cohorts -drummer and husband Budgie, Eto and former Psychedelic Furs guitarist Knox Chandler -and the 14-piece orchestra had got through an opening trio of tracks from Hai!, it was clear that the collaboration was an inspired idea.

The energetic Eto was incredible to watch -he danced with various huge pieces of percussion -but it was the youthful looking Sioux who stole the show.

Wearing a red and white feather headdress, a halterneck top with plunging front, wide trousers and flowing, wizard-like, white silk sleeves attached to her upper arms, she could have stepped out of the pages of an old edition of Vogue. Her voice was incredible seductive and sexy one minute, haunting the next, then switching to piercing screams and howls -and her erratic, karate-inspired dance moves were silly but fun.

The set was half Hai! and half old material, including a superb Dear Prudence, Cities in Dust, Not Forgotten and the set highlight, Miss the Girl, during which fans flocked to the front of the stage. "It's good to see some of you get off your bums," snarled Sioux. She didn't smile once, but it was clear that the lady is loving her latest revival.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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