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Creatures Creep Through A Night Of Seductive Rock

Sexy Siouxsie Sioux leads the band and audience through a set of old and new material.

SonicNet's David Gill reports:

SAN FRANCISCO -- When she's onstage, Siouxsie Sioux performs with a powerful sexual energy.

More than her sultry music, more than her skin-tight leather body suit, more than her seductive tone of voice, she radiates a confidence and self assurance that can seduce crowds.

Take, for example, her performance at the Maritime Hall here Friday with her side band the Creatures, a show that included ex-Velvet Underground rocker John Cale as the opening act. Sioux slinked and slithered around the stage like a cat prowling for some food.

Her voice seemed to cry out for attention, a wanton wail that seemed even more meaningful than the words she was trying to communicate.

"When she sang 'Venus in Furs' ... What a babe!" is all that 23-year-old concert-goer Meri Brin had to say about it.

And like a true vixen, Sioux rarely travels alone. Audience members got a special treat when she shared the stage with Cale for a truly gothic extravaganza. The large venue was packed and the crowd was noticeably on high alert when Cale appeared onstage. The musician started things off by setting the mood of the evening.

Dressed in black, he tapped at his keyboard, delivering an ominous, if not downright depressing poetry while footage of human surgery appeared on the huge screens flanking the stage.

Cale's deep voice and stern delivery proved a strange juxtaposition against what was to come.

After Cale had run through five of his songs, Siouxsie Sioux, clad in shiny black leather, appeared onstage, as if out of a dark alleyway. The crowd exploded with applause and whistles. The sexy singer strutted up to the microphone and said simply and softly, "The beautiful people are out tonight."

Perhaps she was referring to the crowd that, for the most part, resembled extras from "Interview With The Vampire." Mostly, they were here to see the gothic rocker and her band and get an earful of their latest sound. And much to their surprise, the performance featured a number of new songs, including, "Prettiest Thing" -- a seductive number featuring the band's patented Caribbean flavor -- "Take Mine," the apocalyptic "Exterminating Angel" and the standout "Turn It On."

The band, currently in the midst of a three-month tour that includes stops in London, Mexico City, New York and Chicago, is set to release a new, yet-to-be-titled album sometime in 1999, according to its management.

Since disbanding Siouxsie and the Banshees, the band that first garnered Sioux musical acclaim, the singer has focused her efforts on the Creatures, a band that she started with percussionist-husband Budgie in 1981. The band has released only one full-length LP, 1989's Boomerang, but has toured extensively, including playing on the Lollapalooza summer tour festival in 1991.

And it shows. After her husband, Budgie, who seems to exude rhythm from every pore, began to pound out a deep, pulsing rhythm on the drums, Siouxsie began to sing.

Let it be said that there are few voices as recognizable as Sioux's, and at age 40, she has lost nothing of her range or unique cadence. In fact, she seems to have grown into her voice, perfected the use of it to the point where it has become a lethal musical weapon. Whether she was belting out a low note or screeching out high, cat-like calls, her voice cried out in beautiful song, filling the huge theater, making every nuance audible to the listener.

Even if the crowd didn't know all the words to the new material yet, fans grooved to the sounds as if to old favorites. They screamed passionately for Sioux to hear them. Some handed her flowers. Some simply stood in awe, hypnotized by her very presence.

When the band got to the night's pivotal number, "Turn It On," featuring a thick, bass-laden beat, a beautiful wall of sound emanating from the guitar player's amp, Sioux delivered a blistering chorus -- "Play the game where I play the king/ Everything to risk, everything to save/ I change what I can/ Accept what I can't/ Cause I've got the power ... Chameleon/ Turn it on/ Feel the power ... unpredictable/ Feel the power ... untamable/ Turn it on."

It was a sound that soothed as well as stirred emotions.

After Sioux had brought the audience to a fever pitch with "Pluto Drive," from the Creatures' 1989 record, Boomerang, Cale re-emerged onstage, strapped on a guitar and proceeded to run through some faster rock songs, looking perhaps to take over where Sioux left off.

But the crowd seemed disinterested in Cale's electric set. Fans wanted Sioux and all her freaky feline fetishes to return to the stage.

Before too long, their wish came true.

The seductress returned to perform "Murdering Mouth" as a duet with Cale. After switching instruments from acoustic guitar to bongos to his drumset, percussionist Budgie stepped up to the huge bass drum aside the stage and the band delivered the highlight of the evening during the third encore -- a rendition of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs."

Mesmerized by the droning tune, which Sioux sang in her patented come-hither tone, the crowd seemed wasted, breathless, unable to speak.

Sioux had done her job.

She had given them what they wanted -- her love.

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