Siouxsie Sioux: the Queen of Goth’s crown has never looked more secure


Pop music's great subversive shows no sign of waning in magnetism, and her set at the Troxy in London's East End was irresistible

Siouxsie Sioux
Siouxsie Sioux Credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns/Getty

As the first notes of Night Shift reverberated around east London’s Troxy on Wednesday night, the audience looked forward, enraptured, at a slight figure alone on the stage, dressed in a billowing blue Grecian gown with heavily lined eyes and a nimbleness that masked her age. “I’m out of my mind with you, in heaven and hell with you,” sang Siouxsie Sioux, an appropriate introduction to music’s original subversive who, now 66 years old, shows no sign of waning in influence or magnetism.

Who else could persuade 3,000 people, many dressed in their finest, thickest leathers, to pack into a sweaty venue on one of the hottest nights of the year but Sioux, here to perform in the capital for the first time in a decade? Revered for her work fronting Siouxsie and the Banshees (primarily with Steven Serevin) and The Creatures, she now performs solo, backed by a four-piece band whose sound was initially muffled but eventually grew in pace and depth.

It didn’t matter. The main event all along was Sioux, powering through hits from both bands along with popular covers: the Banshees’ sublime, dancefloor-ready Kiss Them for Me, inspired by Fifties sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, and Christine, a slice of pulsing psych-pop, sung with a voice that still withholds all of its power and lust; The Beatles’ Dear Prudence, which the Banshees made a chart hit in 1983 when The Cure’s Robert Smith was fleetingly part of the band; and Iggy Pop’s The Passenger, sung back at the stage at full pelt. Unsurprisingly, the closer Hong Kong Garden from 1978’s The Scream generated the grandest singalongs, its unmistakable, trembling opening strings giving way to the resounding crash of a gong and its terrifying tale of racist skinheads.

Eternally enigmatic, Sioux has long shied away from the public eye, coveting a private existence that only adds to her mysterious air on stage – as she soared and swished around, she appeared like some sort of otherworldly angel of darkness. She is one of those rare figures in music for whom wild praise doesn’t equal hyperbole – from her early years as part of the Bromley Contingent of original punks to playing with Sid Vicious and earning mass critical acclaim with the Banshees, Sioux has been blazing trails in the industry for almost fifty years, regaling us with songs that take in everything from femicide and mental illness to animal rights. Seeing her back where she belongs – performing on stage in London – the Queen of Goth’s crown seemed more secure, and majestic, than ever.

Playing at Troxy again tonight (Sept 7, returns only);