(The Philadelphia Inquirer 5.2.95)

front of Entertainment section "Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees get screams at the Tower"

"Siouxsie Sioux and Banshees lean on past hits at Tower"
by Larry Kay

The warm applause that greeted the Banshees as they took the stage turned to teenage girls' screams for Siouxsie Sioux as she strode from the wings. This much is clear: She is THE diva of alternative rock.

Though the nearly 90-minute set Sunday at the Tower Theater relied far more on past triumphs than on the group's newest album, "The Rapture," Siouxsie could do no wrong in the eyes of this crowd. In command at all times while swirling around like a dervish, her Elvis-like body language served to cue the band.

At first, her vocals were swathed in too much reverb for the spacious Tower and were nearly lost in the mix. But by the third song, "Jungle," the situation was corrected and the sound was crisp and clear. The first half of the show was almost a "greatest-hits" medley; it wasn't until the crowd became more receptive that the band began playing newer tunes.

As good a performer as Siouxsie is, the Banshees deserve far more credit for propelling their leader. Budgie, the band's original drummer, is a contained powerhouse and one of the heaviest hitters in a drum seat today. Steve Severin's bass work and Jon Klein's guitar playing were tight and angular, bringing the most out of the songs. Martin McCarrick's keyboards laid down background moods for the others to build on, but when he switched to cello (which he did frequently) to add another rhythmic element to the mix, the sound was at it's most driven.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Siouxsie and the Banshees played from their earlier albums rather than their new release, "The Rapture," in their Sunday show.

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