Cale, Creatures Display Range in Inventive, Spirited Show

John Cale’s music encompasses everything from the Velvet Underground, which he co-founded with Lou Reed, to folk, pop and avant-garde classical. Siouxsie Sioux’s career has also covered a lot of ground, including noisy punk, flirtations with world music and, in the final phases of Siouxsie & the Banshees, innocuous mainstream pop.

Tuesday at the Palace, Cale joined forces with the Creatures, the drum-intensive side project that Sioux and Banshees drummer Budgie (her husband) have maintained over the years. The result was more than two hours of relentlessly inventive music.

Rather than two separate sets, the show was a collaboration. Cale fronted the Creatures for the first five numbers, then Sioux took over, and for the rest of the night they alternated and joined forces.

Enhanced intermittently by Cale’s guitar and keyboard, the Creatures’ spare arrangements were a flattering setting for Sioux’s distinctive vocals, and she played the voodoo chanteuse with gusto, crooning, wailing and vamping for the adoring audience. Cale’s solo interludes included beautiful, pensive ballads as well as chunky rockers. His gruff take on “Heartbreak Hotel” seethed with as much raucous energy as his outburst of classical piano in “Fear Is a Man’s Best Friend.”


But the most powerful moments were the collaborations between Cale and Sioux, especially the two encores--the Velvets’ “Venus in Furs,” which suited Sioux to a T, and a saucy rendition of Jonathan Richman’s classic “Pablo Picasso.”

Art-rock can be a tedious affair--too often the pretenses of the art smother the spirit of the rock. Cale and the Creatures’ inspired performance struck a perfect balance between the two.

* The Creatures and John Cale play Friday at the Glass House, 200 W. 2nd St., Pomona, 8 p.m. $18.50. (909) 424-3400.