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Music

Watch the moment The Cure's Robert Smith and Steven Severin performed for a ballet

The connection between Siouxsie and The Banshees and The Cure is a historical one steeped in rock music lore. Both bands formed in the ashes of the first wave of punk and went on to become pioneers of the nascent post-punk movement before devising a gothic style all of their own. The connection between both bands is so inextricable that you wouldn’t be wrong in considering both as separate sides of the same coin.

You could argue that Siouxsie and The Banshees were the first band of the original post-punk scene to really ‘make it’. Formed in 1976, their debut album, 1978’s The Scream, is hailed as an influence by everyone from Steve Albini to Mike Patton, and yes, even The Cure. Interestingly, when The Cure formed in 1978, Siouxsie and The Banshees were well in the ascendance, but it wouldn’t be long before their paths would intersect, as the boys from Crawley would quickly make their mark on the booming English rock scene, helped on their way by Siouxsie and Co. 

Before too long, owing to an internal schism in Siouxsie and the Banshees, Cure frontman Robert Smith joined The Banshees on what was initially a temporary basis to help them finish tour obligations. Then, in 1982, after legendary axeman John McGeoch quit The Banshees after a nervous breakdown at a show in Madrid, Smith was welcomed into the fore permanently. At the time, this was perfect for Smith as The Cure had ground to a halt owing to drug addictions and internal strife. 

Smith’s tenure in Siouxsie and the Banshees was short but sweet. His most iconic moment came with their famous cover of The Beatles classic ‘Dear Prudence’. He also performed on fan favourites such as ‘Swimming Horses’ and ‘Dazzle’, as well as the lauded Nocturne live album. Before the tour for Siouxsie and the Banshees’ sixth album, 1984’s Hyæna, Smith quit as The Cure had come back from the dead.

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Whilst this period of symbiosis of The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees was fruitful, one of the best points came in 1983, but it has largely been forgotten in the mainstream. Theatre designer Michael Pavelka produced a ballet project for Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London, as a pilot for BBC2’s Riverside Programme that was based on Jean Cocteau’s Les Enfants terribles. Featuring Robert Smith, Steven Severin, Lol Tolhurst, Anne Stephenson and Gini Ball, it’s one of the most impressive forgotten performances of all time.

Strangely though, this motley crew did not play a Siouxsie and the Banshees song, instead, they performed ‘Siamese Twins’ from The Cure’s bleak 1982 record, Pornography. Watching Steven Severin playing bass on a Cure track is a sight to behold as it only occurred in public once, so it’s to be cherished. As the group perform ‘Siamese Twins’, watching the two black-clad dancers perform their pathos-drenched piece really augments the dark beauty of the track, as it accounts for the romanticism of Smith’s lyrics, creating something breathtaking. 

It seems as if the Riverside Programme were big fans of both bands. As they were the ones who produced the famous Banshees Play at Home, as well as broadcasting a performance by The Glove, the supergroup formed by Smith and Severin in 1983. 

It was a brilliant time to be alive for fans of all things goth, so why not take a trip down memory lane and relive that exciting period, when seemingly nothing could get in the way of Robert Smith or Siouxsie and the Banshees.

Watch the performance below.