SAN FRANCISCO -- When she's onstage, Siouxsie Sioux
performs with a powerful sexual energy.
More than her sultry music, more than her skin-tight leather body
suit, more than her seductive tone of voice, she radiates a confidence
and self assurance that can seduce crowds.
Take, for example, her performance at the Maritime Hall here Friday
with her side band the Creatures, a show that included ex-Velvet
Underground rocker John Cale as the opening act. Sioux slinked and
slithered around the stage like a cat prowling for some food.
Her voice seemed to cry out for attention, a wanton wail that seemed
even more meaningful than the words she was trying to
"When she sang 'Venus in Furs' ... What a babe!" is all that 23-year-
old concert-goer Meri Brin had to say about it.
And like a true vixen, Sioux rarely travels alone. Audience members
got a special treat when she shared the stage with Cale for a truly
gothic extravaganza. The large venue was packed and the crowd was
noticeably on high alert when Cale appeared onstage. The musician
started things off by setting the mood of the evening.
Dressed in black, he tapped at his keyboard, delivering an ominous, if
not downright depressing poetry while footage of human surgery
appeared on the huge screens flanking the stage.
Cale's deep voice and stern delivery proved a strange juxtaposition
against what was to come.
After Cale had run through five of his songs, Siouxsie Sioux, clad in
leather, appeared onstage, as if out of a dark alleyway. The crowd
exploded with applause and whistles. The sexy singer strutted up to
the microphone and said simply and softly, "The beautiful people are
Perhaps she was referring to the crowd that, for the most part,
resembled extras from "Interview With The Vampire." Mostly, they
were here to see the gothic rocker and her band and get an earful of
their latest sound. And much to their surprise, the performance
featured a number of new songs, including, "Prettiest Thing" -- a
seductive number featuring the band's patented Caribbean flavor --
"Take Mine," the apocalyptic "Exterminating Angle" and the standout
"Turn It On."
The band, currently in the midst of a three-month tour that includes
stops in London, Mexico City, New York and Chicago, is set to release
a new, yet-to-be-titled album sometime in 1999, according to its
Since disbanding Siouxsie and the Banshees, the band that first
garnered Sioux musical acclaim, the singer has focused her efforts on
the Creatures, a band that she started with percussionist-husband
Budgie in 1981. The band has released only one full-length LP,
1989's Boomerang, but has toured extensively, including
playing on the Lollapalooza summer tour festival in 1991.
And it shows. After her husband, Budgie, who seems to exude
rhythm from every pore, began to pound out a deep, pulsing rhythm
on the drums, Siouxsie began to sing.
Let it be said that there are few voices as recognizable as Sioux's, and
at age 40, she has lost nothing of her range or unique cadence. In
fact, she seems to have grown into her voice, perfected the use of it
to the point where it has become a lethal musical weapon. Whether
she was belting out a low note or screeching out high, cat-like calls,
her voice cried out in beautiful song, filling the huge theater, making
every nuance audible to the listener.
Even if the crowd didn't know all the words to the new material yet,
fans grooved to the sounds as if to old favorites. They screamed
passionately for Sioux to hear them. Some handed her flowers. Some
simply stood in awe, hypnotized by her very presence.
When the band got to the night's pivotal number, "Turn It On,"
featuring a thick, bass-laden beat, a beautiful wall of sound
emanating from the guitar player's amp, Sioux delivered a blistering
chorus -- "Play the game where I play the king/ Everything to risk,
everything to save/ I change what I can/ Accept what I can't/ Cause
I've got the power ... Chameleon/ Turn it on/ Feel the power ...
unpredictable/ Feel the power ... untamable/ Turn it on."
It was a sound that soothed as well as stirred emotions.
After Sioux had brought the audience to a fever pitch with
HREF="http://www.addict.com/music/Creatures,_The/Pluto_Drive.ra m">"Pluto Drive"
m">"Pluto Drive"(RealAudio excerpt), from the Creatures'
1989 record, Boomerang, Cale re-emerged onstage, strapped on
a guitar and proceeded to run through some faster rock songs,
looking perhaps to take over where Sioux left off.
But the crowd seemed disinterested in Cale's electric set. Fans
wanted Sioux and all her freaky feline fetishes to return to the stage.
Before too long, their wish came true.
The seductress returned to perform "Murdering Mouth" as a duet
with Cale. After switching instruments from acoustic guitar to bongos
to his drumset, percussionist Budgie stepped up to the huge bass
drum aside the stage and the band delivered the highlight of the
evening during the third encore -- a rendition of the Velvet
Underground's "Venus in Furs."
Mesmerized by the droning tune, which Sioux sang in her patented
come-hither tone, the crowd seemed wasted, breathless, unable to
Sioux had done her job.
She had given them what they wanted -- her love.