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- Siouxsie Sioux »
From filthy holes in the wall with a capacity of 50 to the plastic sterility and toilet queues of a stadium, music journalists are used to watching gigs in just about every space imaginable. But tonight things take a turn for the grand, because for one night only in Paris, Siouxsie Sioux, the original princess of punk, is playing on the city’s most identifiable landmark and even DiS has to stand back, gawk and take a photo while walking up to the venue’s famous base.
Part of the Coca-Cola Music Discovery Sessions, the point of the evening’s festivities is to support new music by giving an unsigned European band - selected by a panel of music industry types - the chance to play with an established artist in a spectacular setting. (The next two events are being held in Reykjavik and Athens.) The big star has the final say in the openers, so for those selected, it’s obviously an added compliment.
The lucky two for tonight are Dodoz, a young girl-fronted indie post-punk quartet from Toulouse, France, and London based electro-poppers Headland. Unfortunately, due to a logistical mishap and general confusion with le Metro, DiS arrives a bit late and walks in halfway through Headland’s set. (Apologies to Dodoz, but give their MySpace a shot. They inject a bit of Gallic fun into typical, spray-on jeans indie.) Essentially a pop outfit backed up by well-placed keyboards and a ferocious drummer, Headland succeed in this instance where others might fail by injecting a glam-like stomp and the occasional touch of sleazy fuzz into a sound that would otherwise border on middle of the road.
But in a crowd filled with media types, contest winners and even London fashion designer of the moment Gareth Pugh, there’s only one name hanging off of everyone’s lips…
Far from being a greatest hits affair lazily sung by a once great star going through the motions, Siouxsie reminds those in attendance why she is the venerated icon she is with a set focusing almost exclusively on her new album, Mantaray. Stepping out in a skin-tight cat suit - with a surprisingly youthful physique to match - she prowls the stage like a high-kicking tigress just let out of her cage, commanding everyone’s attention with a far more powerful presence than that seen on stages where the Karen Os and Dittos of the world tread. This is a woman who decades ago blazed a path that others now only follow and it looks like the fire that burned through her then is still burning bright. Plus, unlike the work of another 50-year-old icon currently married to a man named Ritchie, there’s nothing calculated or media manipulating here. This is just Siouxsie as Siouxsie is and always has been. And even if you’re not drawn to the chanteuse styling of her latest work, there’s something about the vitality and raw energy of Siouxsie’s performance that adds more than a favourable whiff of that old punk magic to the air on the Eiffel Tower tonight.