Scissor Sisters, Brixton Academy, London

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The Independent Culture

Wearing all Hallow's Eve as snugly as Bing Crosby once wore Christmas, Scissor Sisters are in full Rocky Horrorvision on this night of disco infamy.

Wearing all Hallow's Eve as snugly as Bing Crosby once wore Christmas, Scissor Sisters are in full Rocky Horrorvision on this night of disco infamy. The audience, too, have made an effort to glam up - fiendishly kohl-eyed and ghoulishly tomato-juiced. It's not certain what part nurses and French maids play on the last day of the Celtic calendar, but there are plenty of them here to rub horns with the imps and warlocks.

Fishnets at the ready, and perhaps mindful of their sole eponymous long-player, Ana Matronic has enough ad lib to fill out an evening of Children in Need appeals. She's the only female sister of the Scissor carnival, but Jake Shears leads the cabaret, braving some seemingly bespoke S&M gear. He's the mirror-ball re-incarnation of Lou Reed's Transformer, trading in some New York rock'n'roll for Sir Elton's middle-of-the-road MOR and Sylvester's falsetto. It's time to do the "Time Warp" again.

Though the band sensibly leave many of the singles until later in the show, each song is cheered with a welcome usually reserved for a greatest hits revue. No one knows the secret of how the Sisters have turned base materials into the stickiest glitter-fun since the hey-day of Studio 54. Laboratory tests have confirmed that the constituent elements are a known quantity, yet lesser alchemists have failed to reconstitute them into the same gilded whole.

The ambience of a Scissor Sisters show is pure School Disco with an all-new playlist. The youthful audience could be, to paraphrase the Sisters, jacked up on nothing more than cheap champagne but they are here to shake their pitchforks, not to stroke their chins in furrowed contemplation.

That's not to say that this is simply body-music for hedonists. After all, the catharsis of the dance floor implies there is something to escape from. There's real anger behind Matronic's performance of the anti-censorship "Tits on the Radio". And "Return to Oz", introduced by Shears as "very personal", may have all the theatre of dry ice and "Purple Rain" guitar-solos, but it's a lament to move the hardest of hearts.

Each song is delivered with a verve that belies some ho-hum material. Both "Laura" and "Mary" found their true home on radio, surrounded by the ill-attired companions that commercial day-time playlists demand. On this evidence, it's not hard to imagine throwaways such as "Music is the Victim" and "Lovers in the Backseat" finding a home on Radios 1 and 2.

"Comfortably Numb" nets the most fervent reaction. Who would have imagined that suburban ennui could sound so much better were it articulated by Barry Gibb, rather than four men resembling accountants? Clearly, Scissor Sisters did, and a good thing too. A faithful run-through of "Mary" also indicates how different a Robbie Williams product would be were it erased of all the self-obsession.

The final treat of the evening is an all-smiling, all-dancing "Take Your Mama Out", complete with a Tim Burton on-stage cast-list. The trick will be to repeat the success of 2004.

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