Siouxsie & the Banshees at the Music Machine, London, March 1980

Siouxsie & the Banshees at the Music Machine, London – Maybe there is such a thing as a phoenix after all – and for a band that’s had more than it’s share of bonfires, this particular rising was a blitzkrieg.

From the word go, it was no holds barred as they launched into ‘Playground Twist’ fair near cracking the walls in the process. It was clear from the start that this was a much happier ensemble than was witnessed last time around.

A maroon – suited Siouxsie sprang up and down looking as if she was actually enjoying herself. Gone is the distant, total iciness which in the past resulted in audience alienation, indeed she was actually affable to the hoard of white hands crawling up the sides of the monitors, smiling and crouching down as near to the edge as she dared whilst the Banshees throbbed like a well – turned engine.

They positively worked their asses off – Severin looked thoughtful. The balconies were overflowing with heaving bodies as they went into ‘Staircase’. John McGeogh’s guitar work is not quite so jangling as his predecessors, complementing rather than dominating.

Halfway into the set and the dance floor resembled a volcanic eruption. ‘Switch’ was followed by ‘Happy House’ – this is what the packed Music Machine had been waiting for.

Then a new number which sounded almost Led Zep’s ”Kashmir’ !
“You won’t hear that again,” she quipped. By now the whole band were leaping around like things possessed – and was this girl in fine voice! – the whole place was reverberating to the strains of ‘Hong Kong Garden’.

The end came with a shattering ‘Helter Skelter’. Siouxsie coiled up behind the monitors, rose up like Medusa, arms whirling, the band bleaching the front row white.

They returned, after exiting so suddenly that it took the audience a while longer to register it was over, to deliver ‘Drop Dead / Celebration’ with enough vitriol to burn the lining off an asbestos suit. ‘Complacency’ was a near miss and it’s a relief to see them at least staring to fulfill their early promise.

Run for cover cos the Banshees are coming to get you. (Record Mirror)

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