Siouxsie and the Banshees
The Seven Year Itch Live DVD

Almost one year after their "Reunion"-tour, Siouxsie Sioux and her Banshees have released a live video of their London gig at Shepherds Bush's Empire. Expect a solid performance without major surprises.

From rude Punk to glitzy Pop, and further on to Top of the Pops: Siouxsie and the Banshees have gone all the way. It has to be remembered just how huge their popularity was during the 1980ies, especially so as Miss Sioux with her extravagant sense for styling had become kind of a role model for the female part of the Goth movement.

The Banshees' spirit waned a bit in the 1990ies, since the band was further and further dragged apart by two inner forces: Siouxsie and drummer Budgie indulged in their sideproject The Creatures, while bass player Steven Severin devoted a lot of his time to experimental music, which in turn led to the creation of Re:, his own record label. So, not very surprisingly, the Banshees decided to call it a day in 1996 (their 20th anniversary), after having played some "final" concerts the year before.

Come 2002, and Siouxsie and the Banshees announced a small world tour to celebrate their official re-union. Now, music history is full of tragic and uninspired re-vivals and re-unions, so the question is: can the newly formed Banshees live up to the expectations? Or is the whole thing just a means to push sales of their record back-catalogue (as last year's rather disappointing "Best of" release would suggest)?

Well, here is the DVD that brings the Shepherds Bush leg of the tour to your home. From the wailing wall of guitar sound that is the intro and the first song ("Pure") it is very clear that the Banshees have lost nought of their fascination as a live band. Times have changed of course, and the Banshees are no more the angry Punk band of the old days, but rather a group of seasoned musicians with no particular desire to show off.

So it's different, even to the concerts they've played back in 1995, but apart from Madame Sioux having minor problems with her voice, this has indeed been a worthwhile effort. Well done, even if the track list is not very surprising, with the possible exception of the George Harrison cover version "Blue Jay Way". The final song, "Peek A Boo", features background vocals from Japanese support act, the eX-Girls, dressed up as some sort of mutated frogs: now, that is funny, isn't it? Still, I don't like that song.

The camera's eye is doing a good job in capturing the essence of the concert. Well, and this being a DVD, the whole event has been recorded in multi-channel format, so the minority of surround-sound enthusiasts out there can indulge in sophisticated sound distribution. What else is on the DVD? Two not very convincing cameos: first, drummer Budgie giving a lengthy "guided tour" through the Empire concert hall and second, "backstage impressions". I suppose most fans would have rather had a couple of new songs!

Anyway, "The Seven Year Itch" is worth buying. For the hunters and collectors, the release is available in different formats: on CD/limited double vinyl-LP (audio only, of course), VHS-video and DVD (as reviewed above). The DVD will give you the most value for money, though.

Label: Sanctuary/Wonderland

(rh 07/MMIII)

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The return of the legendary Banshees - but sadly no new tunes!