Cultivating great musical taste

Siouxsie at the Royal Festival Hall 17/6/13

Siouxsie at the Southbank - taken by Stephen Carter

Siouxsie at the Southbank – taken by Stephen Carter

Yes, that’s right! This weekend the queen of goth returned for two nights in London and she was truly spectacular.

She’s been away on a five-year break, much speculation about her never returning, yet she came back for Yoko Ono’s Meltdown festival at the Royal Festival Hall in the South Bank Centre. She was originally billed for one night but due to popular demand another one was added.

Last night was the second of the two rare dates and it was brilliant. There is no doubt that Siouxsie is talented, but last night only fortified that assessment. Considering that she’s been in the industry for years it is exceptional that she is still so good.

She has amazing stage presence and knows how to work the crowd and, most of all, her voice is still phenomenal. She delivered each song perfectly and even reached the high notes that are elusive to so many people.

The set opened with Happy House which was greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd, it was a great reminder of all the fantastic tracks that Siouxsie has delivered in various incarnations. She went through a few more songs and hit Christine. At first it was a bit difficult to recognise, but then it reached the chorus and everyone joined in. Red Light was another highlight, through each of these tracks Siousxsie applied a different dance move which she repeated throughout, but the best thing about Red Light was the rhythm she had. That, along with the light show, made it a mesmerising performance.

Around about this point it became increasingly obvious that this was a special gig. Here, in front of us after a five-year break was one of Britain’s seminal musicians and her voice showed no age. Who knows how long it will be until she makes another appearance. One of the best things about the gig was the people spotting. Usually you can tell exactly what sort of demographic there will be. But not this time. The age varied across the entire venue and so did the styles. Although she’s considered an alternative artist she has reached out to so many kinds of people and it was good to see all the different people she had influenced.

Siouxsie and her backing band popped off stage for a little break and when they came back the audience was sufficiently pumped up for more music. This is when she went through her back catalogue of hits. As well as throwing in some tracks from her solo album, Mantaray, she got the audience excited with classics such as Dear Prudence, Israel, Arabian Knights and Cities in Dust. All of them are tracks that need to be played loudly and sung along to at the top of your voice and this is exactly what happened when they started to play.

But there were two performances which stood out the most. Face To Face came on and the Batman logo started whizzing around the venue as the lights moved. The mysterious quality that comes through on the album still managed to make itself known amongst the noise of the audience and acoustics of the venue. This was also the song where she demonstrated her ability to still hit those high notes.

The second one was the last song, Spellbound. As soon as the first note was played the entire audience broke out into cheers and started dancing along. It was the most energetic number and again Siouxsie surpassed all expectations with her performance.

Watching her last night was enlightening. There are very few artists around now that I very much doubt will be as good when they reach her age, in fact I doubt they’ll even be remembered. Siouxsie is a true musical goddess.

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