NME (4.29.78)

Live Review by Steve Walsh

Siouxsie And The Banshees
Music Machine, London

A peace-offering of flowers from a fan in the dressing-room and what seems like the millionth debut for the great unsigned...

Yeah, you’ve probably heard all of this before with regard to The Banshees, but tonight’s advance ticket sales were only out-done by the Tom Robinson Band when they appeared at the same venue recently.

A full-scale attraction without a contract!

Off-beat combo The Table deviate just for the sake of it and the redoubtable Spizz Oil harangues the audience to a standstill, but both he and the tabloid-trio end up sinking without a trace in the mire of anticipation. Tonight belongs to the headliners.

The Banshees take to the stage in a twilight of spotlights, crystalline, dissonant guitar splinters heralding the intro to "Helter Skelter", a song that’s been in their repertoire for nigh-on a year, but of which they acquit themselves with energy and enthusiasm, forestalling any bitterness they might feel for a blinkered and unresponsive industry with stoical perseverance.

"Mirage" follows, then "Nicotine". The crowd call for "Captain Scarlet" (still!) but the Banshees don’t pander. Instead we get "Metal" and "Hong Kong Garden".

"This one’s for all you A & R men at the bar..."

Their mood becomes apparent...

Remaining still is the primeval, anchor-beat of the drum sound, over which the Bromley chanteuse pins her starched, catatonic vocalese. Between these two extremes the guitars cover the middle-ground.

Mixers and P.A.s permitting, they steer well clear of post ‘77 wall-of-sound conformity, every instrument maintaining an identity of it’s own in the overall sound pattern.

And so a band who started life as a ‘ragged and naive’ figment of post-Pistols’ punk euphoria, develop through experience into a force to be reckoned with. Possibly not esoteric enough for ‘New Musick’ snobs and dilettantes to drool over, certainly not dumb enough for the boneheads, The Banshees may find themselves lost in limbo unless they surface in this year’s vinyl stakes. But I see no reason why not.

Though this sound was marred by bad sound they proved themselves capable of delivering the goods (as they say in the business) and their ability as songwriters cannot be doubted as recent material like "Overground" and "Suburban Relapse" goes to show.

As Siouxsie says, "Here’s something for all the record companies, ‘cos it’s their loss not ours..."

It’s time someone listened.

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