I never really liked Siouxsie And The Banshees, until I heard this live double album. It’s still my favorite album by the band. A look back at the post-punk classic Nocturne.
Siouxsie And The Banshees debuted with album The Scream in 1978, one year later followed by Join Hands. The band wanted to do something else and released Kaleidoscope in 1980, an album that was completely different from both preceding albums. Juju followed in 1981 and A Kiss In The Dreamhouse came one year after that. The albums were well received and sold very well, especially in England. The band had become a leading exponent within the post-punk movement and was invaluable to the development and rise of the emerging “gothic” scene.
Despite the good music Siouxsie and me didn’t click. Something was off-putting to me. The theatrics? No, I thought Bauhaus were great. The heaviness or darkness? No, Siouxsie was a child’s party compared to the other music I listened to at the time. But it all changed the first time I heard Nocturne.
And why did this album do what the previous ones didn’t? In part it’s probably to do with the fact that it’s a live album. The sound is perfect. Budgie’s drumming in particular, stands out and is mixed to the fore. The album was released by Polydor Records on November 25th, 1983. All the songs were recorded on September 30th and October 1st, 1983 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England.
At the end of 1982 the band had fired the exquisite guitar player John McGeoch, because of problems with alcohol. The band asked The Cure’s Robert Smith to help the band out with the guitar duties. Robert Smith obliged and, following the release of the Dear Prudence single, was an official member of the band per September, 1983.
Robert Smith is the guitar player on Nocturne and he takes his duties seriously; his playing is really good.
The concerts focused on the two latest studio releases, B-sides and two Beatles covers. Nocturne shows a band at the top of their game. The performances are passionate, Siouxsie Sioux’s voice holds up very well and the band plays fantastically. Nocturne is a perfect introduction to the band.
On the nights of the concerts filming was done as well. These were released on video (and in later years on dvd) under the moniker Nocturne.
This album has many highlights, with Israel, Melt!, Pulled to Bits, Night Shift, Slowdive and Eve White/Eve Black being my favorites.
All songs written by Siouxsie And The Banshees, unless stated otherwise.
- Dear Prudence *
- Paradise Place †
- Pulled to Bits
- Night Shift
- Sin in My Heart
- Painted Bird
- Happy House †
- Helter Skelter *
- Eve White/Eve Black †
- Voodoo Dolly
|*||Siouxsie Sioux & Steven Severin|
|†||John Lennon & Paul McCartney|
In December of 1983 members of the fanclub (called The File) received a double A-side single with the songs Head Cut and Running Town, recorded at the October 1st show. Both Nocturne performances were never released on cd and/or through streaming services.
N.B.: The music that opens Nocturne is a piece of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Siouxsie Sioux – vocals, guitar on Sin in My Heart and Paradise Place
- Steven Severin – bass
- Budgie – drums, percussion
- Robert Smith – guitar
The band consequentially released another 6 studio albums:
- Hyæna (1984)
- Tinderbox (1986)
- Through the Looking Glass (1987)
- Peepshow (1988)
- Superstition (1991)
- The Rapture (1995)
In April of 1996 The Banshees were disbanded.
What do you think of Nocturne? Let me know!
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Live 1983, Siouxsie Sioux & Robert Smith 1983 images: pinterest.com
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Nocturne image: post-punk.com
Siouxsie And The Banshees – Nocturne – Ad image: thebansheesandothercreatures.co.uk
A great piece of New Wave/Post Punk history. A really fantastic record. I own a copy that I cherish. A FB friend was actually at the show.
Cool! Wish I could gave been there. Must have been awesome!!
I watched the video version of this so may times when I got it in 1986. My family mocked and ridiculed me to no end because of my adoration for Siouxsie. My dad would walk through the TV room when this was playing and sneer “Who’s that witch?” I love how Siouxsie learned to play 3 chords on a guitar using one finger (while watching her finger the whole time she was playing) for “Sin In My Heart”.
Ha ha, I don’t have that experience. Still, a great story today 😉