Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Siouxsie at Meltdown

When She  that odd stirring motion with the microphone, I knew what was coming.  The encore's encore wasn't going to disappoint. The guitar swirled and then as the drum rush in everyone in the festival hall seems to be on their feet, Siouxsie delivers Spellbound.
Of course this was never how it was meant to be, punk nostalgia, can anything be more of a betrayal. As I sit their surrounded by my demographic why can't we see the irony? But Siouxsie like her support act, Viv Albertine rises above the cheap shots, though They come at it from opposite directions. Where Albertine is a cheeky wink, Souixsie's voice is a shining black locomotive.
Albertine avoids the past by largely avoiding the past. Apart from a slightly self conscious reference to the venue, she focuses on the intimate songs of her recent solo career. Given that the Slits were always a bit short on hummable (listenable) tunes it is an understandable choice. Songs like Couples are Creepy, Needles and Confessions of a MILF neatly sidestep the history while keeping a spoonful of the attitude. 
Siouxsie has the bigger creative cheese and from the opening 'Happy House' shows she has no qualms about her history. But she never was Susan from next door really. Punk may have been the springboard but her voice and charisma takes her way beyond the spiky blokes in pubs. The power of the voice comes again and again. There is room for a bit of self mockery at her own persona, commenting that 'when you come back after five years don't wear vinyl' and the rather more toe curling 'they have to wait for me while I strap something on.' Please don't get all Julian Cleary on us now! The costume, white vinyl with a kind of fetish Bucks Fizz thing happening halfway through, was a startling thing in its own right. 
Though the voice sounded better than ever some of the songs have become less sharp and more bombastic. A brilliant Israel was followed by a smudged Arabian Knights. Dear Prudence felt like it had put on weight over the years. But the sheer sense that one is in the presence of one of the true voices of her generation bounced us through the lulls. With Joe Strummer, Joey Ramone and Ian Curtis gone, Souixsie, along with John Lydon is one of the few great punk singers left standing. 
Say nearly missed the start of the gig because her train from Bromley was delayed. Kind of appropriate given the act on stage.