Siouxsie @ Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, 25 Jul

The unparalleled empress of the goths delights her loyal subjects with Banshees and Creatures classics as the heavens open over the Kelvingrove Bandstand

Live Review by Jack Faulds | 31 Jul 2023

Midges and mayflies dance in the overcast sky as both middle-aged and coming-of-age punks fill up the stands of the historic Glasgow amphitheatre. Even in the absence of warm-up acts, the majority of the seats are taken a whole two hours before Siouxsie is set to grace the stage. Her iconic pale visage glows on hundreds of black T-shirts, worn by fans who have attempted to preen and backcomb their hair in her signature style. 

The light pitter-patter from the poncho-wearers punctuates the eerie Elfman-esque orchestral piece that plays as the band creep through the darkness towards their instruments. All rise as Siouxsie steps out into the spotlight in a hooded, metallic silver harlequin pantsuit with matching trainers. The blinding lunar sparkle of her outfit far outshines the pitiful effort from the moon which remains obscured by the mean-looking clouds overhead. Siouxsie lunges erratically towards the front-rowers, shaking her hands like a crazed televangelist as she belts out the lyrics of Night Shift right in their adoring faces. Neon lightning bolts flash across the screen behind her as the downpour grows and it seems more and more that her warbly vocal performance and jerky dance moves are conjuring up an unstoppable storm. 

Siouxsie on stage at Kelvingrove Bandstand.
Image: Siouxsie @ Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow, 25 Jul by Marilena Vlachopoulou

“How the hell are ya!?” she yelps, dropping her hood to reveal a vague mop of hair and a contagious ear-to-ear smile. Her unmistakable eyes, as seen on the cover of The Best Of… album, peer out on the backdrop as Siouxsie marches like a zombie during the sublime solo track Here Comes That Day. She glides through a surprisingly varied setlist with an enviable sense of ease and professionalism, proving over and over that she is multitudes more than the one-dimensional image of the 80s goth queen that the merchandise booth seems to be pushing.

“Stop confabbing boys and get on with it!” she spits at her dilly-dallying musicians. “Always gabbing between songs, I don’t know what they fucking talk about!” The crowd whoops and hollers as the opening guitar riff of Dear Prudence reverberates around the deep basin of the bandstand. Siouxsie delivers the line 'The sun is up, the sky is blue' with a cheeky wink as she prances around, dry as a bone. Other classics like Cities In Dust and Christine go down a treat, enclosing a stellar performance of The Creatures’ track But Not Them which sees the band abandoning guitars and synths in favour of drums and percussion, allowing the intricacies and developments in Siouxsie’s voice to be fully appreciated by the crowd. 

“You have been great,” says Siouxsie when she returns for the encore, “standing out here in the rain. Has it stopped yet?” The crowd reply in unison with a deafening “NO!” and she cackles. “Lovely weather for ducks, but this ain’t for ducks!” The unmistakable chorus of Spellbound elicits a visceral reaction from the crowd who do as they’re told and follow the footsteps of the rag doll dance right to the very end. The rain falls gently as snow as Siouxsie takes a bow, high-fives a fan and disappears backstage. The storm has passed and now the goths scramble for the last bus home.