Siouxsie and the Banshees

Seven Year Itch [DVD]

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The Seven Year Itch Live documents Siouxsie and the Banshees' reunion performance at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on July 10, 2002. From the DVD's title and its sleeve notes, one gets the impression the band was itching to jump back into the world of live and recorded music. But anyone expecting a transcendental goth-punk experience will more than likely be disappointed. While drummer Budgie, bassist Steve Severin, and new guitarist Knox Chandler attack their instruments with artistic fury, Siouxsie Sioux's vocals are not up to par. Sioux seems to have lost the high end of her range, and she resorts to various gargles and wails in an attempt to compensate. While she does go through the motions, she seems altogether emotionally bored or removed from the swirling music that cascades around the venue. Further, her '70s/'80s goth style make-up distorts her otherwise striking profile, which makes for uncomfortable viewing for anyone other than the most passionate of goths. Like Robert Smith, her onetime bandmate, she suffers from not updating her style and wigs. From a band that blended punk, pop, and gothic rock so expertly, the set list here is unfortunately downbeat, showcasing little of the band's range. At least "Spellbound" and "Peek-A-Boo" stir the pace a bit. Ultimately, the concert and this DVD suggest the band is cashing-in on their name rather than exploring the boundaries of their art, and Sioux throws few bones to an audience that still laps up her every gesture. DVD extras consist of a slightly humorous brief backstage tour from Budgie and even briefer highlights from the band's sound check and pre-show preparation. These extras definitely help to get one pumped up for the performance, but the set list and Sioux's indifference and vocal troubles ultimately make the DVD a more sour experience than expected. The Seven Year Itch Live is perhaps a dish best served only to the band's most ardent fans.

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