Her first show in 10 years since her last live appearance at Yoko Ono’s Meltdown festival in 2013, Siouxsie Sioux performed a nationwide tour culminating in two nights at the Troxy in which she performed classics from her post-punk band The Banshees as well as solo material from her 2007 debut and only studio album, ‘Mantaray’.
After appearing from behind a transparent screen in a silver hooded jumpsuit made by fashion designer Pam Hogg, she played ’Kaleidoscope’ single ‘Arabian Nights’, but unfortunately it was clear that – and by her own admission – she was struggling vocally to remain in time and tune, despite the excellent spine tingling guitar parts by guitarist Steve. Siouxsie better performed the sexy swagger and deep vocal tones of ‘Here Comes That Day’ from her solo album, ‘Mantaray’, which was remastered on vinyl earlier this year.
She also played her famous cover of The Beatles’ ‘Dear Prudence’, spiralling around to the vocals, before randomly going into a rant after the song about her frustration over Thames Water’s burst water main where she lives. Her set continued on a lacklustre note over the next few songs, but suddenly reenergised with a heavier rhythm section in ‘Cities of Dust’ from The Banshees’ seventh studio album, ‘Tinderbox’, with its stretching guitar. After the minimalist Burundi style tribal drumming of ‘But Not Them’, the band launched into the fast paced ‘Sin in My Heart’, with Siouxsie playing guitar, its speedy, alternating fretwork like a runaway train.
She ended her show on the band’s 1980 fifth single, ‘Happy House’ – from third studio album ‘Kaleidoscope’, featuring John McGeoch’s trademark early guitar parts after first joining the band – and then doing a rare first encore of ‘Carousel’, which was the first time she had ever played the song live as a solo artist. Despite it being played with a backing track for the keyboard parts as throughout the set, its tingling keys conjured up a horrifying gothic fantasy with brushes of crumbling guitar feedback and wide eyed Kate Bush-like vocals.
The band continued to play from the 1988 ‘Peepshow’ album, released 35 years ago almost to the day of the London shows, with the boxy march of ‘Peek-A-Boo’. Varying from the previous night, they performed ‘Switch’ from The Banshees 1978 debut album, ‘The Scream’. Despite being evidently exhausted, Siouxsie managed to literally crawl back onstage for the last song from ‘Juju’, its first single ‘Spellbound’, before throwing her mic to the floor in acknowledgment that she had had enough.
07/09/23: Siouxsie Sioux @ Troxy, London.
Photo © Tony Woolliscroft.
© Ayisha Khan.