Siouxsie and The Banshees – Live from Köln – Rockpalast – WDR – July 19, 1981 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Siouxsie and The Banshees in concert to end the week. Recorded live for the Rockpalast series via West German Radio in 1981. One of the main reasons I haven’t run more live Siouxsie and The Banshees live material is the comparative dearth of good sounding concerts by the band. Most of what you run into are audience tapes, made by a well-meaning, but technically challenged fan who dragged a cassette machine into the venue and promptly sat up next to a group of Tuberculins or worse, loud drunks. And the end result is a din of distortion followed by bellows, hacks and out of synch shrieks from the nearby crowd.
And I know there are people who swear by them and argue for days about the historic significance of this or that concert, whether you can actually hear the songs or not. Frankly, it does the band no favors, and in the case of Siouxsie Sioux, does a huge disservice to one of the great voices in Rock music of the later 20th century.
They have never been a band that courted casual listeners – their music is too in-your-face to take or leave. I have never been able to stop an SATB album midway through and pick it up later on. The music and the message and sheer intensity of the performance demand an attentive audience. And frankly, a lot of pop music goes under that category, but Siouxsie and The Banshees especially. Ever since dropping the tone arm on The Scream for the first time, lo those many years ago, their music has been urgent and immediate and wonderful and it’s been a source of unbroken enjoyment and absorption ever since.
Music affects everyone in different ways – there are bands you can take or leave, or make great background music. But there are some bands you just don’t forget, they make an indelible impression on you – and I think it’s safe to say, for myself, that Siouxsie and The Banshees have always fit that description.
Crank it up and get ready for the weekend. I understand it’s going to be something else. Just a hunch.