Boston’s own Siouxsie Sioux and Robert Smith Perform at Midway Cafe – By Beth Wigton
To close out the month of February, JP welcomed New Wave and Post-Punk fanatics into local watering hole and live music venue, Midway Cafe. The night was a tribute to The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees — two influential acts that paved the way for successive groups in an unequivocal and remarkable way.
Gretchen and the Banshees opened the night with Siouxsie classics including Monitor and Halloween, perfectly mirroring the wails and depth of Siouxsie Sioux’s iconic stage persona. Once the crowd was warmed up, dancers soon edged closer to the stage with unapologetic moves and impassioned cheers. Siouxsie and the Banshees is known for their own tributes to popular artists including Iggy Pop, The Band, The Velvet Underground, and even Kraftwerk. This night, Gretchen and her Banshees performed the cult favorite, Dear Prudence, a Beatles classic reimagined for the virboto of Siouxsie Sioux. Midway through the set, the energy was so high that the front person, Gretchen, announced that they’d be opting for more energetic Siouxsie tunes in lieu of some of their initially planned slow songs. By the end of the set, the crowd was so electrified, it was as if, for one night only, we were all transported back into the 80s.
After a quick set-change, Staring at the Sea arrived on stage for the headlining act. Fronted by a pastiche of Robert Smith joined by 4 other bandmates, they began with the romantic, longingful Pictures of You – and the master of the synth set the bar high for the rest of the night. My personal favorite came next, with its two minute and twenty second long intro: Push. Already hyped by Gretchen and the Banshee, the crowd was ready to scream the lyrics <GO GO GO / GO GO GO / Push him away!> alongside the performers. As the night progressed and several more songs were played, Staring at the Sea faithfully recreated the environment of what I imagine as an intimate yet lively classic Cure gig. Coming from someone who has seen The Cure in a festival setting, they achieved gothic success of these proportions. Props to them.
Several deep cuts were bookended by hits: these less emblematic Cure songs included Jumping Someone Else’s Train and M. But just when you might have thought the unknowing crowd’s energy would have dulled a bit, the performance cut to two of the most emblematic love songs of rock: Friday I’m in Love and Just Like Heaven.
The band’s name, Staring at the Sea, comes from the title of a singles compilation released by The Cure in 1986 on CD. The phrase is taken from the opening of The Cure’s debut single, “Killing an Arab” which, to the philosopher in me and in my companion, was the Albert Camus reference we wanted (and didn’t know we needed.). It closed out one of the best shows I’ve been to in Boston – and that’s saying a lot. Next chance you get, go take part in a profound celebration of one of the best bands there is and catch Staring at the Sea.
Pictures of You
Jumping Someone Else’s Train
A Night Like This
Play for Today
Friday I’m in Love
Just Like Heaven
Close to Me
Boys Don’t Cry
10:15 Saturday Night
Killing an Arab
(This image is not mine, it was taken from the band’s facebook page)
Tags: Beth Wigton, Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux