This is SO GOOD, and it seems that it’s only just turned up on YouTube in its entirety in the last few months: quality footage of a complete Siouxsie and the Banshees concert—from arguably their strongest period, the three years when guitarist John McGeoch was in the band—broadcast on the superb long-running German TV program Rockpalast.
Please indulge a detour here so I can hyperventilate like a gushing fanboy about McGeoch before we get to the music—he’s far from a household name even among guitar geeks, but McGeoch’s playing ranks with Rowland S. Howard’s and Daniel Ash’s in its importance to the sound of post-punk, particularly in its gothier forms. Before the Banshees, he had noteworthy tenures in ur post-punks Magazine and new-romantic instigators Visage, but with the Banshees, he adopted a richly textured style of layered picking that recalled both The Police’s Andy Summers and his own Banshees predecessor and successor Robert Smith (more famously of The Cure, of course), without actually sounding quite like either. He’d been pointing the way to this kind of thing here and there in Magazine, but it seems like the Banshees set him loose to turn the idea into something magical. His style during this period has been singled out as an influence by guitarists like The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and Jane’s Addiction’s Dave Navarro. McGeoch’s performance on the indelible classic “Spellbound” earned him a slot in Mojo’s 1996 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time; hear for yourself, here it is on Top of the Pops.
McGeoch contributed excellent work to the Banshees’ LPs Kaleidoscope, Juju (cited just yesterday as one of ten must-have post-punk records), and the astounding A Kiss in the Dreamhouse before his struggles with alcohol led to his ouster from the group. He soon joined The Armoury Show with refugees from The Skids, and a few years later turned up in the most commercially successful version of Public Image Limited, but it was his work with the Banshees that made him a hero. Here’s that Rockpalast concert, offered into evidence.
March 4, 2014, will mark the 10th anniversary of McGeoch’s death.