The Scissor Sisters, Trafalgar Square, London

A night of gaiety under Nelson's gaze
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The Independent Culture

The fact that New York's Scissor Sisters can fill Trafalgar Square and still, relatively speaking, not get arrested back home should be a matter of some national pride. It's hard to imagine, after all, a more extravagantly, entertainingly, even movingly gay band, a fact which has if anything helped their embrace by the British cross-section represented in the Square. Lord Nelson may have his back tactfully turned to the stage, but others are twirling feather boas, dancing in the fountains, and generally smiling and laughing at the Scissor Sisters' joyous showbiz spectacle.

Kyle Minogue (for whom the Sisters wrote a hit) makes a rare public appearance to introduce "my special friends", who make themselves welcome with the falsetto romp of "Take Your Mother", before introducing the crowd to their second album, Ta-Dah.

Like their first record it's a disappointing work, largely because it has to compete with the sight of the Sisters, live or on video, which is where their life-force is at its most irresistible.

The singers Jake Shears and Ana Matronic are two of the most positive performers now working. Shears' wide-eyed act, as if permanently in delighted shock at taking the stage, has its foil in Matronic's casually sexy wit. They both dress in glamorous glitter. During "She's My Man", he spiders across the floor on his back, while she high-kicks like a showgirl. They simply can't keep still, because they don't want us to.

The poetic melancholy which makes the Sisters more than party animals, and marks them as members of America's Aids-era gay community, is made explicit when Shears introduces "Lights" as inspired by the last words of a dying aunt ("I can't breathe," is Matronic's version of them, coal-black humour which adds to their British appeal). It's still played as Saturday Night Fever funk, just as Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" is re-imagined as a disco classic. "Land of a Thousand Words" is meanwhile sung in Shears' best Elton croon, with a pensive swell from bassist Babydaddy that builds into a Roger Moore-era Bond theme.

Shears arrives for the encore, "I Don't Feel Like Dancing", covered in gold foil, before stripping to some sort of crotch-skimming, 1930s gay gold swimsuit. While Babydaddy's bass spurts steam into the crowd, and a grey Lord Nelson dances behind him, Shears looks in the vague direction of the Mall, and decides "the future King of England has a little bit of Queen in him".

As topless male fans dance in the full blast of the fountains, it's hard not to believe him. The Sisters' adopted hometown is gayer, in every sense, for their presence.

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