Unknown source 1988  
  The Banshees are presently warming themselves in the gratifying glow of the best reviews in their 12-year career.  Only fair: the newest album Peepshow is up with their best work and represents a magnificent return to form after a couple of indifferent seasons.  Beware this well-timed video, though: "live" videos are a poor thing very often, no more rewarding than getting a smell of a tempting meal without a chance of scoffing it.  Nocturne, filmed at the Albert Hall concerts in late '83, is mundane stuff.

The problem isn't just that cameras can't catch atmosphere (with the odd exception such as Scorsese's Last Waltz work with The Band), nor that live recordings are nearly always inferior to studio ones.  Nor is it simply the lack of visual variation over the course of an hour.  Nocturne's prospects are basically blighted by the material.  1983 was not a vintage year in the Banshee's life: knocked off course by their perennial "missing guitarist" difficulties, the band had brought in The Cure's Robert Smith to replace the recently defected John McGeoch, and these tracks, extracted from earlier albums, are played with no great vitality in a show that's given to routine reworking of fast-tiring witchy imagery.  Siouxsie vamps her dogged way through Israel, Melt!, Spellbound and nine others, including The Beatles' horror-opera Helter Skelter.  Better would come, but not just yet.


Paul Du Noyer



  Unknown source 1983  
  SEVEN WEEKS have passed since punk's bleak winter night, which saw Siouxsie And The Banshees breaking a lifetime's vow never to play the Albert Hall or release a double live LP.  They've not only done both, but compounded the sin with the appearance of a video of the concert of the record.  And they haven't been struck down!

Choice of venue was the limit of the night's iconoclasm.  It provided it with an odd extra prickle of electricity and the group's audience with a brief pause for thought.  None of this is particularly apparent in Nocturne, a straight filmed record of an intermittently exciting performance, which at least brings Sioux's face close enough to see seat glistening like tears on her cheekbones.  In remembrance of times past or youthful ideals lost?