Rolling Stone (6.15.95)

Siouxsie and the Banshees

New York

Roseland, April 28, 1995

It was as though all the older bats escaped from hell: Victorian Trent Reznors; caped Count Choculas; thirtysomethings in wedding dresses, black lipstick, and Maniac Panic dye jobs; a drag queen in farm-girl bondage, featuring pigtails, latex corset, and a touch of gingham. They had all defied the laws of nature and come to Roseland in the spring twilight to revel in pleasure and worship the high priestess of goth. They were not to be denied.

The audience's early '80s art-school aesthetic was the only thing that looked dated once the band took the stage. For starters, Siouxsie Sioux came out without fright-mask makeup, wearing what seemed to be a spangly mohair jumper. Supported by her core band members of the past two decades - her drummer husband, Budgie, and bassist Steven Severin - along with cellist Martin McCarrick and guitarist Jon Klein, Siouxsie unfolded a noirish sound of polish and depth. Clearly, she has progressed well beyond goth. At times her performance was so tight, it was ... Vegas goth!

Opening with the droning "Double Life" and "Forever" from this year's The Rapture (the band's 14th LP), the band established a trancelike, hypnotic tone from the outset. Whatever the show lacked in momentum, it made up in sonic texture and Siouxsie's animated delivery. Her time-honored bat-Aspara goth dance on "Face to Face" obscured the fact that the atmospheric dirge creeps along like practically every song in her repertoire. A blast from the past - "Christine" - was all it took for the reverent floor to erupt, sending sacrifical moshsurfers and roses flying towards the stage.

The band bult up a mesmerizing stop-and-go pace, reaching a psychologically penetrating crescendo with "B Side Ourselves." The Banshees elevated this obscure track to sainthood solely by virtue of their impassioned theatricality. By even then the unconverted members of the audience, like me, were worshipping at their altar.

Billy Van Parys

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