Melody Maker (10.27.79)

Live Review

Odeon, Hammersmith

The Banshees may have recently experienced a mass desertion, but it doesn’t show, with the Cure’s Robert Smith helping out on guitar. The stand-in drummer is Budgie, who manages to send a seductive pulse-beat around the Odean through the ploy of beating his tom-toms to death. With these two in the band, the slight and sluggish structure of the average Banshees song takes on a swirling, vortex quality.

But I refuse to be drawn in, because that would mean submitting to Siouxsie’s wilfully ambiguous projection of herself. For example, she berates the sections of the audience who tell her to "gerremoff", but remains oblivious to the Nazi-saluters. Her response to them is her little girlie goose-step.

Offstage, Siouxsie would be the first to deny her role as hardcore prima donna, but that’s how her ambiguous stage persona causes her to come across. The stance is reflected in the music itself, which purports to be a punk-metal voyage into nightmarish angst but which comes back with very little to say about the experience.

The kindergarten decadence and dabbling and babbling in the dark reached escapist conclusion with "The Lord’s Prayer", which came complete with stained-glass-window slide show. No blasphemy here, just that coy ambiguity again.

The band returned for a sullen encore and Siouxsie, after damning Polydor, heartily thanked the audience and the roadies. Ah, she’s a nice girl, really.


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