Scissor Sisters, Brixton Academy, London
"You sound like you've just won a football match," shouts Ana Matronic to confused cheers, in an epic display of misjudging a crowd.
The response to her opening gambit is lethargic, and a sign of disappointments to come on what should be a joyous comeback tour for one of Britain's favourite cult bands. Something seems off; the atmosphere is subdued, the punters static and the music somehow lacklustre.
Singer Jake Shears at least is giving it some, skipping about the stage like he wants to be the second coming of Freddie Mercury. He actually looks a little like Pinocchio hitting the scene, decked out in his acid-washed jeans, braces and white gloves. He dances inexhaustibly.
The band, meanwhile, barely move a muscle. It's a disappointment – considering the mood of their music, you might expect them to show off a tiny bit and let rip, but they never do. Instead, guitarists Babydaddy and Del Marquis shuffle around on stage as though they're on beta-blockers.
Whether this leads to or stems from the crowd's intransigence is unclear, but they aren't giving Scissor Sisters much energy to work from. True, it's a hot night, and standing in the front-stage press is like standing in a sweet-smelling sweat lodge, but there isn't the dancing they might expect.
In the end, it's not gripping enough: people expect a degree of pageantry, but it doesn't ever materialise. In truth, despite Shears' game bandy-leggedness and Matronic's attempts to rouse the crowd, everything feels flat. The banter is certainly smutty enough, but there's nary a feathered sequin in sight.
There's an especially bad sag in the second half when the better material runs dry. Their new songs don't have the same musical presence or, honestly, the hooks, and no amount of fancy footwork can paper over the cracks. The show is saved by a pulsating encore, but this can't hide the fact that a third album of Elton John-isms is going to make for thinner gruel.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First