GIG REVIEW – SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES – LONDON

Siouxsie & the Banshees at Hammersmith Odeon, London, November 1978

When I get to . . . . the bottom . . . . I go backtothetopoftheslide!! Steel-hinged guitar slashes reverberate round the Odeon, calculatedly speed up, joined by Siouxsie’s voice, then finally cascade into a searing, acidic rendering of Lennon / McCartney’s ‘Helter Skelter’.

Siouxsie & the Banshees are here to prove their worth after cutting an album to really live up to.

By the climax of the evening, a hoarse, bruising ‘Love In A Void’, they’ve – uhm – made their point.

The band are now unquestionably, perched up in the big league, with a fat contract in the bag, a plush, well-conceived debut album, and even (gasp) a ‘hit’ single in ‘Hong Kong Garden’ opening up pathways to other markets.

I guess, if anything, the one question mark must’ve concerned how the band could make the transition to the wide open spaces of our ‘major’ venues. So, effectively, this Hammy Odeon venture was rather more than yer average Banshees gig.

After all, many bands have fallen flat on their collective butts when exposed to larger halls, and many shall continue to do so.

But not the Banshees. If anything, this was a stark illustration of the band’s absolute quality; the fact that not only did they deliver, but they did so with breathing space and feet to spare.

See, I left with the impression that Siouxsie & the Banshees still had much more to offer, that they’d managed to exhibit a kind of unnerving self-restraint through it all.

And if they can do that and still come up with an electric, open-nerved set of this stature, then they deserve that fat contract and all the advantages it entails.

While Severin, Morris and McKay concocted the cruel, incisive rhythms, chords, and structures in workmanlike fashion, existing on an awesome energy reserve, Siouxsie hauled the mike stage front and left her mark, not only as a superb vocalist (the voice is never exactly pleasant, but always dangerous) but also a truly ‘class’ front person.

The material was mostly familiar, being carved from ‘The Scream’ and comprising everything from the instrumental ‘Pure’ to the vehement drama of ‘Switch’.

God knows, Siouxsie & the Banshees waited long enough to land any measure of concrete success (bar critical acclaim), and now they’ve matured / evolved into an established, powerful outfit who can make it or break it from here. Now sit back and observe. (Record Mirror)

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