The Sunday Herald (February 21, 1999)

Generations meet at a tribal function

Jonathan Trew

WAY back when punk was on the cusp of becoming the first New Wave, Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees were truly iconic. All the blokes wanted to go out with someone like Siouxsie: a girl who was trouble with a capital T. The girls who liked Siouxsie wanted to be Trouble but they understood that blokes would never have the guts to ask them out.

This image obviously has an appeal that has echoed down the years. Half of the audience here are young enough to have so many body piercings that they would cause a major security scare if they tried to check in their faces at any Middle Eastern airport. The other half have been around the block a few times more and, although they have managed to dust down their leather jackets, they would still provoke a feeding frenzy at a conference of life assurance salesmen. The main difference between the two groups is that over the years the rings tend to migrate from noses to wedding fingers.

All of which has parallels with the music of Siouxsie's latest incarnation. Along with husband Budgie, former drummer with the Banshees, Siouxsie has reactivated The Creatures, a former Banshees side project. It's a band that will disappoint neither her old fans nor the new ones who were wearing safety pins in their nappies when Siouxsie was first finding new uses for them.

Reports that The Creatures had gone techno are greatly exaggerated. Tribal is a better word. Budgie's drumming is very much to the fore and it's a powerful, polyrhythmic beast that rolls over the audience like a storm. Siouxsie sounds like a cross between PJ Harvey's emotive gravity and Massive Attack's dark, smooth groove. During Prettiest Thing, she sings of a 'beautiful violence' and that's a phrase that applies to much of her music.

She still sounds like the gothic voodoo queen of old and will offer older music hacks the opportunity to re-use old favourite buzzwords such as 'angular' but she has also moved with the times.

While the ghosts of old Banshee songs are present in the new material, Budgie's beat avalanche keeps things moving and, when she wants to, Siouxsie can unleash a blues howl and moan that's timeless.

Just before the gig started, a woman turned to her partner and groaned that none of us are spring chickens anymore. That may be true but this was a slick show that proved old punks don't die. They just learn new tricks.

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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