The Press-Enterprise (7.20.98)

Night with the Creatures creative and captivating;
The group - which includes Siouxsie Sioux (formerly of Siouxsie and the Banshees) - gave a haunting performance Friday night.

George Paul, The Press Enterprise

For Siouxsie Sioux, music has always been about breaking down barriers. Her band the Banshees started out in punk rock, then became a standard bearer for gothic rock. Along the way, there were excursions into pure pop and orchestrated forms.

Simultaneously, Sioux and drummer/husband Budgie were involved in the Creatures - an experimental, rhythm-oriented side project that saw a handful of releases in the '80s. After The Banshees called it quits two years ago, the pair's creative energy shifted back to The Creatures.

Now that entity is back on the road after an eight-year hiatus. Currently, the group can be heard on the "Lost In Space" and "Whatever" soundtracks. A new EP is due out soon and a studio album will follow early next year.

It seemed only fitting that The Creatures would tour with John Cale, a former Banshees producer and soulmate, whose post-Velvet Underground career has taken twists and turns into underground rock and avant-garde styles. At the half-filled Glass House on Friday night, their collaborative performance was enthralling.

With a stage shrouded in darkness, Cale appeared at his keyboards and opened the two-hour, 24-song set with a haunting, spoken word-laden "Lament. " He dug deep into his back catalog for the claustrophobic "Fear (Is A Man's Best Friend)," which found Budgie pummeling away at the drums.

On the slow and mournful "Hedda Gabbler", Cale triggered some disturbing scraping noises with his keyboards. Suddenly, the crowd went wild as Sioux slithered onstage to share a final chorus.

Though fans had been respectful of Cale, the first glimpse of their gloom goddess incited shrieks.

Clad in a tight grey/black bodysuit and sporting a short Cleopatra-style haircut, Sioux got down to business with her trademark wail during the electronic-based "2nd Floor," one of seven new songs. As sampled bleeping sounds echoed, Sioux climbed the speakers, made striking gestures and even shook a tambourine.

After the sinister "Take Mine" (where Sioux pounded bongos), and the exotic Banshees B-side "Tattoo," The Creatures moved from one musical extreme to another. Especially noteworthy was an Oriental flavored "Miss The Girl. "

Cale reappeared to back Sioux on the eerie "Murdering Mouth. " His gruff vocals provided an intriguing contrast to her feminine cat calls, while the band locked into an Eastern European-style waltz.

Yet more Sioux/Cale duets were still to come. On Cale's chunky rocker "Gun," Sioux sang back-to-back with Cale, obviously having a blast.

Come encore time, Cale brought out his viola for a sharp take on the Velvets' "Venus In Furs. " As the lurching, Arabian sounds swelled, Sioux made the perverse tune her own via breathy vocals and teasing movements. Finally, The Creatures and Cale pulled out all the stops during Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso. " The hard-driving shuffle featured quick vocal tradeoffs and a nod to Van Morrison & Them's "Gloria. " It was a rousing finish to a truly spellbinding evening.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

Back to Articles