Nick Morgan and crew
Review by Nick Morgan
The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm,
London, November 5th 2007
been away, and as a result missed two much anticipated
gigs on the Whiskyfun schedule. Rufus Wainwright
ended a UK tour at the Hammersmith Apollo (he’s
now touring continental Europe). “Weird”
said the Photographer, who attended in my absence,
“especially when he put on the lederhosen
and long white socks”. And the malt-whisky
loving KT Tunstall turned in a couple of nights
at the Roundhouse – “Good – but
most engaging when she played without the band”.
Which is where we are tonight (although you might
be forgiven for thinking we’re in the middle
of a war zone as over-specified fireworks explode
in the sky all around us). But not before we’ve
paid a quick trip to the noodle house round the
corner for some chicken chow mein and chop suey.
– it’s the feisty ‘Ice Queen of
Punk’ and ‘Queen of Goth’, the
Grundy baiting Siouxsie,
aka Siouxsie Sioux, notably once of the genre-defying
Siouxsie and the Banshees
and no doubt occasionally still called by someone
plain Susan Ballion.
is back with her first solo album Mantaray and a
clutch of London gigs to promote it, before heading
off to the US of A. The Roundhouse is sold out;
it’s a mixture of ageing punks, Goths, gays
and the odd civilian. The audience is, well let’s
say, boisterous (actually I noticed on one of the
Siouxsie forums that they were described as “c***ts”
which seemed a little unfair). We’re jammed
in front of the sound desk. Someone appears to have
written “Gangway” on the back of my
otherwise rather cool charity shop leather jacket.
The Photographer can barely see a thing (see photograph).
As in fact neither can the professional snappers,
who’ve been banned from the front of the stage
and are climbing all over us and the sound desk
trying to get a shot of this most photogenic of
performers, cursing their luck.
band take the stage – drums, keyboard, bass,
guitar and a very atmospheric glockenspiel. They
start playing the opening chords of ‘They
follow you’ as Siouxsie strides to the stage
in some sort of glossy bondage playsuit (as I believe
they’re called), hair as black as pitch, make
up exemplary. They work through two more songs from
the new album before reeling off three oldies (which
I did get the feeling, as a non Siouxsie fan, that
I might have recognised), ‘Arabian Nights’,
‘Spellbound’ and ‘Night shift’.
rest of the main set is devoted entirely to Mantaray.
I’ve read that this material isn’t really
Siouxsie at her darkest, but it’s certainly
gloomy enough for me. And as the evening progresses
it begins to feel as though the songs are really
nothing more than a backdrop for Siouxsie’s
physical presence on the stage, which is, to say
the least, imposing. It’s certainly much stronger
than her voice, which is tired, sometimes flat,
limited in range compared to her earlier years,
and occasionally makes me think “Bring back
Lene Lovich”. But she dances, menacingly sways,
kicks and karate chops her way through the performance
with a remarkable energy, and manages to finish
off on a high note with ‘Into a swan’,
her single taken from the new album (where her singing
reminded me, strangely enough, of Wreckless Eric).
As a first encore she sings ‘Nicotine stain’
(soon to be banned in the UK, I’ve no doubt)
and turns in a cover of Basement Jaxx’s ‘Cish
cash’. At this point, slightly deaf, and dumbed
by the good-humoured jostling we decided to make
a sharp exit, to the tones of ‘Hong Kong Garden”,
which was, or so I’m told, followed by ‘Israel’
and a long standing favourite cover, “Hello
I love you”.
An entertaining enough night, with a rousing performance
weakened only by the noted deficiencies in Ms Siouxsie’s
voice department. And I could rather get to like
some of the tracks off the new album – ‘though
heaven knows what sort of mood I’d need to
be in to play them at home. Anyway, if you get the
chance to lash out a few quids on a ticket to see
her then I certainly wouldn’t miss the opportunity.
Such single-minded performers as Ms Siouxsie are
few and far between, and they deserve all the support
they can get. - Nick Morgan (concert photograph
the index of all reviews:
Nick's Concert Reviews
There's nothing more down there...