Siouxsie Sioux – [Live]

Monday, 25 February 2008

There is no denying that Siouxsie Sioux is an icon. From her days as a Sex Pistols groupie during the birth of punk rock, to her rise as one of the leaders of the post punk/goth movement with both The Banshees and The Creatures, she has reinvented herself over and over, while at the same time keeping true to her beliefs, her attitude and most importantly, her music. Siouxsie has stood tall atop the rock that is the test of time, and Wednesday night at The Fillmore was no exception.

As I walked into The Fillmore about halfway through opening band Rasputina's set, I realized that I had forgotten all about them over the years. I had seen them about 12 years earlier (in a tiny unventilated upstairs room at The Paradise Lounge) when they were three women with three cellos, and was surprised that now there was only a first- and second-chair cellist, in addition to a backing vocalist and a male drummer. Regardless of the configuration of the band, they sounded great. Rasputina's music can best be described as a combination of pop music and chamber music, and this "chamber pop" was the perfect prelude to Siouxsie. Founding member/singer/songwriter/first-chair cellist Melora Creager delighted the crowd with her beautiful voice, her amazing cello playing (not to mention the fact that she was able to make her cello sound like an electric guitar) and her hilarious, ridiculous, yet at the same time, highly entertaining stories behind each song. Drummer Jonathon TeBeest fit in with the women on stage quite nicely, and his drumming really added a new dimension to Rasputina's sound, especially during a dark and rocking version of CCR's "Bad Moon Rising." Unfortunately their time on stage was far too brief, and when they walked off I was really wishing I would’ve caught their entire set. It was nice to rediscover them after all these years.

Looking around at the almost full-to-capacity Fillmore while the stage was being broken down, I was quite surprised at the lack of goth kids in the crowd. Kooky Spooks seem to swirl about almost everywhere here in the land of dark foggy nights that is San Francisco, and I would have thought that Siouxsie's first show here in over 5 years would have brought the Dungeons and Dragons crowd out of the woodwork. But tonight's crowd seemed a bit older and a bit wiser, and were probably thinking the same thing I was when an occasional goth niblet would stomp by in their combat boots which was Been there, done that. But bless their little dark hearts for keeping the torch burning.

As the lights finally dimmed and her band walked out on stage, I could tell right away that this was not going to be the average Siouxsie show. After waiting for just the right amount of tension to build, Siouxsie finally strutted her way onto the stage to the roar of the crowd, and immediately launched into "They Follow You," off her latest album, Mantaray. Dressed in a black and silver skin tight outfit that could only be described as a cross between Ace Frehley and Barbarella, Siouxsie looked absolutely stunning, and appeared to be about half of her fifty(!) years. Finally taking a break after two more songs from Mantaray, ("About To Happen" and "Here Comes That Day") she bent down to accept a bouquet from a fan, and half jokingly and half seriously quipped, "That's it? One measly fucking bunch?" Gotta love her sense of humor—not to mention her arrogance.

It was at this point in the evening that she decided to go old school on the crowd, and had them eating out of the palm of her hands with "Dear Prudence," "Arabian Nights" and "Nightshift," old classics that sounded amazing, especially considering that she did not stop moving the entire time. As I watched her, I really could not believe the amount of energy Siouxsie had up there, and I think it was at this point that she made me realize what an incredible performer she really is. Finally slowing down a bit for the crowd to catch its collective breath, she all of a sudden transformed herself into a cabaret singer, and delivered dark and brooding versions of "Loveless," "If It Doesn't Kill You" and "Sea of Tranquility," which were, again, all off of Mantaray. As it would have been very easy to get up there an phone in a "greatest hits" performance, I respected Siouxsie even more for doing so much new material, although I was not complaining when finished her set with "Cish Cash" (A song she originally recorded with The Basement Jaxx) and the quintessential "Spellbound." Returning to the stage for the obligatory encore, the show was officially brought to and end with a very humorous, yet sultry version of "These Boots are Made for Walking." I could not have thought of a better way to close this show, and walked out of The Fillmore with a whole new level of respect for Siouxsie Sioux.

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