Wake Up Siouxsie is a four-piece Chicago-area rock band that draws from 1950s /1960s rock 'n' roll roots and twists it into an alternative rock-based format...very original in overall sound, you can hear elements of a Beatles-vox-guitar influence lying just beneath the surface on some of their tunes while throwing in some references to early Elvis-era beats and stylings along the way...then wrap it all up into a youthful high energy alternative-imaged band in their approach to on-stage performance and meticulous choice of cover music displays and there you have it...musical re-invention at its finest. Their band's moniker tries to illustrate where their musical compass lies I believe, ranging somewhere between the be-spectacled Buddy Holly rock-a-billy to the British punk rockers group Siouxsie and the Banshees. This band had the honor of being the final one on-stage to close out the now defunct nightclub venue, North Beach in Downers Grove, Illinois on Saturday August 14th, 2010 and as a result (due to another band cancelling) got to play an extended set of music for a total of eighteen tunes.
(Images in order of appearance below: Mike Curran drums, dopplegangers Andrew Paluch and John Lennon, Jake Ames bass guitar, Mike Napoli lead guitar, Andrew Paluch lead vocals/rhythm vox guitar)
They opened with their very good original that sounded like a back-handed tribute to Buddy Holly and The Crickets called "Wake Up", very representational of their musical style, then "Chinese Eyes Blues" which featured the drummer Mike Curran and I loved Mike Napoli's lead guitar riff here...then the third tune, introduced as a new one, was "Seventh Trumpet" where the sound was uneven and the lead vocals by Andrew Paluch seemed to be over-reaching drowning out the back-up vocals (the band started into drinking gratuitus rounds about here, proclaiming "one more shot")...then they dove into their fourth "Your Way"...they made it to the fifth tune before starting in with covers, this one being Muddy Waters's "Hoochie Coochie Man" which I have to admit was a great rendition with a slight heavy metal take and great bass work by the fedora-hatted Jake Ames, although I prefer when bands stick to their originals...then another cover, The Beatles tune "Money" again offering a rendition with an alt-metal twist...the seventh I believe was "Yellow Rain"(?)...then one of their best ones of the night, number eight, "White Cadillac" where Mike Napoli's guitar lead was doubled-up on with Andrew Paluch's rhythm guitar offering a 50s-era rock 'n' roll styled song (by the way Andrew's appearance at times reminded me of a young John Lennon but then maybe it was just the vox guitar)...by the ninth tune (didn't catch the title) another round of shots preceded the playing and it was a hard rock 'n' roller song definitely 50s-styled guitar-lines but with punk-rock-yelling on the vocals by Andrew...on the tenth tune (again no title given) the band mentioned something about another group called The Rebel Angels playing a reunion concert at the Beat Kitchen on October 22nd (apparently one of the band members, I think it was lead guitarist Mike Napoli, was an alumni)...the eleventh tune was my personal fave of the night called "Magnum Forty Four" which featured a great guitar riff on the opening coupled with good guitar lines and drumming throughout sounding like The "early" Beatles from The Cavern Club days...then number twelve, "What Goes Wrong In My Mind" a tune that was just good and loud where the drummer seemed to get really worked up on this one, very syncopated rhythm...the thirteenth was strictly a drum solo, no guitars with the exception of an occasional bass line...then number fourteen, another original called "Ziploc Lover" interesting title which Andrew explained to me that its about how people are always putting stuff into ziploc bags throughout their life...the fifteenth was a cover of punk-rockers The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go", again a great rendition...then another punk-rock band cover of The Undertones's "Teenage Kicks" which was fairly good...then number seventeen was another new song by the band entitled "Boy Who Cried Wolf" fairly good...finally ending with the tune "Deadman (a.k.a. Run Like Hell)" which was a slow tune, one of their better ones of the evening featuring the lead guitar on a short shred with the drums doing a nice job here (according to lead singer Andrew Paluch, it was a tune that was a homage to the late grunge musician Kurt Cobain). Their original tunes offer a very promising and appealing sound and their presentation of the cover tunes were, I admit, quite good by not emulating the authors of those tunes but to present them in their band's own fashion.
Not sure if it is intentional (if it is it may be to keep the aura of underground rock appeal) but the Wake Up Siouxsie's MySpace page is very unprofessional and appears to have been cobbled together in hap-hazard fashion...ditto on the photos of the band, they need to be better quality if they are interested in viable commercial promotion...the array of videos available on the internet of Wake Up Siouxsie are even more atrocious; the sound quality is very poor and the images are either out of focus half the time or are not very steady shots...it would be great if they would invest a little effort to get these things improved on...it wouldn't take much...also there doesn't seem to be an official logo for the band, aside from artwork found on the occasional promotion poster advertising an appearance. The band doesn't seem to care about this aspect I guess, just their music, which they do seem to be very serious about...but it could help them greatly to get these items organized and more presentable along with the establishment of an official YouTube channel of high quality videos. Seeing them live, they are definitely a cut above the "garage band" level, but you wouldn't know it by what is out there on the web. At least the recordings available on their MySpace site do not suffer the same fate and are half-way decent but again they only have a measly four of their many great originals posted to their site (there are more on video but they have very bad sound quality and do not do their musical genius justice)...they just need to get their act together a little more on these elements that represent their ongoing musical enterprise. I believe they could go far in the music business if they give more attention to these things I mentioned here. This two-year old band has great potential and I was very impressed with their sound, although it is still somewhat immature in musical production technique and marketing. Thier repetoire of great original music is on a very good start and growing. But, if you want to make this band a serious move at a career guys...you had better Wake Up...Siouxsie. 'Nuff Sed.
Video of Wake Up Siouxsie (best sound quality one I could find):
Andrew Paluch-vox rhythm guitar, lead vocals
Mike Napoli-lead guitar, backup vocals
Jake Ames-bass guitar, backup vocals