“What in the world is happening? What in the world could this be?”
These very same questions, pondered by Siouxie Sioux on her solo single, Into a Swan, doubtless mirrored many a fan’s reaction when it was announced that the Banshees’ legend was making a live return. Seemingly dormant since the 2007 tour promoting her sole solo album, Mantaray, the release of a digital single last year whispered that something may be in the offing. But it’s unlikely that anyone predicted a full tour, including a generous amount of festival dates
Since the warm-up gig in Milan earlier this year, fans have lit up social media with chatter, some of it rather unkind. But tonight all carping about voice, appearance and choice of footwear (“She’s wearing trainers, for god’s sake!”) was silenced. Delivering a slew of classics from across her entire catalogue, Siouxsie Sioux brought it.
Sliding on stage to Saint-Saëns’ Aquarium, the hood was thrown back as the unmistakable opening stirrings of Night Shift emerged. This jet black gem, from the Juju album, has become one of the Banshees’ seminal anthems despite never being a single. As rallying cries go, “Fuck the mothers, kill the others”, isn’t the most heartwarming. But as the sell-out Glasgow crowd sang along and pumped its fists, a rollicking start that never let up was in gear.
Ripping through the likes of Cities in Dust, Dear Prudence, Kiss Them for Me and Christine, it was obvious that Sioux had lost none of her allure. Bewitching throughout, the voice may have faltered a few times, but she was a captivating presence from the first note to last.
Siouxsie’s frustration with the lazy and persistent monikers of ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Queen of Goth’ is very understandable. Far from just being the band of big hair, dry ice and sinister lyrics, the Banshees always knew their way around a melody. As Happy House had the crowd joyfully purring along, one was left to wonder why they never quite emerged as the commercial juggernauts The Cure or Depeche Mode became. In fact, tonight is equally as notable for the tracks missed (Peek-a-Boo, Hong Kong Garden and Israel, to name but a handful) as those the band did a stellar job of delivering.
Perhaps it’s because they were always just that bit too out there and she was a little too wilful for the mainstream. Regardless, this individuality is why the legacy is an enduring one, and as the rapturous climax of Spellbound proved, no one does it like Siouxsie.
It’s a 5-star revioux for Siouxsie Sioux – ★★★★★