The Village Voice (5.4.99)


Surviving Nostalgia

Surely this had nothing to do with nostalgia. Never mind their status as punk survivors; Siouxsie and the Banshees' 20-year run ended only three years ago, not enough time off to warrant sappiness. So when Siouxsie Sioux and husband Budgie took to the Irving Plaza stage Thursday as their long-running side-project The Creatures, the event hardly reeked of rotten intentions a la a Sex Pistols reunion, or even of a full-scale resurrection, Bauhaus-style. Rather, it was DIY pride that they exuded, tinged with resentment at an unwelcoming record industry.

Legends without major-label support, they assumed total control on the Creatures' third album, Anima Animus, on which they are the only two players. For the tour, they added a guitarist and a bassist (who also fills in on keyboards and violin)--though live, one could swear that Budgie grows additional limbs to cover the percussive responsibilities of two men, pounding out overpowering tribal polyrhythms over electronic samples and distorted guitar screams.

To look at Siouxsie, clad in jeans and a spaghetti-strapped top, thick eye makeup and lavish costumes long gone, you'd think the Ice Queen had thawed. But otherwise, the stuff of her former self remained--stalking stage sweeps, frenzied head-shaking trances, mesmerizing wails. Whether whispered spookiness (''Same lips same hair/the same stare/I'm not recognized or heard but I swear! I was me'') or bellowed anarchy (''I'm sick of it/I want to fuck it up''), the sentiments were a return to previous battle cries, but without the desperation of regression. The Creatures are not so much building new fires as keeping the old one burning, softly shrieking, ''Indeed, goth can age grace-fully, fuck you very much.''

--Robin A. Rothman

Contributed by Jerry Burch.

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