thu 18/07/2024

Scissor Sisters, Shepherds Bush Empire | reviews, news & interviews

Scissor Sisters, Shepherds Bush Empire

Scissor Sisters, Shepherds Bush Empire

The New Yorkers road-test their fourth album and bring the fun

Jake Shears and Ana Matronic: ready to party

Scissor Sisters’ breakout cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” was so downright preposterous it looked likely to doom the New Yorkers to one-hit wonder status; it’s the kind of balls-out release that comes along only very infrequently. Thankfully for everyone, however, they’ve gone on to become one of our most treasured pop acts - headlining arena tours in the UK, enjoying life at the top of the charts and attracting fans from across the board.

That gaiety, slink and uncompromised cultural slant have remained consistent throughout their nine-year reign in the mainstream. On the verge of releasing their fourth album Magic Hour, the time that’s passed since their 2003 debut has made it easy to forget what they’ve contributed to music. Scissor Sisters have achieved the rare feat of striking out on their own without attracting impersonators; their sound remains untouchable.

They’ve returned to the celebratory mish-mash of sounds that featured on their debut

Last night, they brought the fun, mixing hits from years gone by with a road-test of the new album. Their technical and theatrical prowess made for a predictably enjoyable show - a bigger, more personal experience compared to their records, especially at this intimate venue. Benefitting from a bedazzling front man/front woman combination in Jake Shears and Ana Matronic, they mixed warm quips with striking choreography, pointed falsetto and an overall sense of thoroughly convincing jubilation.

“Take Your Mama” close up was the biggest hitter of the night, a song about coming out of the closet by way of threatening to get your mum drunk. That, and new cut “Let’s Have A Kiki”, whose minimal techno wriggle brings something very new to the party. As far away from “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” as they dare to go, it’s a celebration of the need to have a gossip, a drag anthem with throbbing early Nineties club beats.

Situations specific to gay culture have always been Scissor Sisters’ focus, but the overt sexuality of their 2010 album Night Work felt too dark for the dance floor. With Magic Hour, they’ve returned to the celebratory mish-mash of sounds that featured on their debut.

The only reason this show didn’t hit perfection is because they’ve not been playing the new material live for long enough to know which songs work and which don’t. If instinct prevails, “Inevitable” will be the encore’s newest star; Neptunes-produced misfire “Keep Your Shoes On”, on the other hand, didn’t bring the party. But this is moot to the main point: it was great to see an audience of 2,000 people so ecstatic without hankering for nostalgia. All to the credit of Scissor Sisters, without whom the charts would be far a duller place.

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