Not two months ago, I saw Chic show what disco was and could be: a terrific display of virtuosi tic kicks and grooves that, with the aid of hindsight, was the distance between James Brown and Lady Gaga. On Sunday night, Scissor Sisters proved that disco was more than a transitional stage that died with the Paradise Garage, but a breathing entity able to move an audience to a paroxysm of pleasure.
What a treat to see the glammy, campy New Yorkers in such close quarters. A warm up for Scissor Sisters tour in support of the May 28th dropping new album, Zebra, there was no rust on the exceptional seven piece disco band. Actually, it is hard to imagine this Elton John meets Tavares meets Cheap Trick mash up as imagined by Dr. Frankenfurter being any better. Cheap Trick? Yup. Ana Metronic and Jake Shears are ambisexual sex symbols, purring and grinding,dancing and slamming, acting up and seducing, and two back up singers in silver hot pants are side plate sexies. But multi-instrumentalist Baby Daddy could front Status Quo no questions asked, and new drummer Randy Real and bassist Del Marquis are like refugees from a new wave band.
It is a pleasantly obtuse visual experience made wilder by Jake's supreme dancing abilities. One part disco queen, one part chorus girl, he is a swinger all the way, and his chemistry with Ana, who should try being an actress, is completely awesome. When they get their hands on a party song, like the new "Let's Have A Kiki" -a percussion filled stomper stops the show, it is as much fun as you can have at a concert.
Scissor Sisters test drove other new songs and fully integrated the set so there was no waiting for the next oldie but goldie. Not that it really mattered, all the new songs were first rate, and with one huge Elton John type piano ballad and another O'Jays style soul number, SS were not resting on their laurels.
The bands last album, Night Moves, was nu-dance, like you got stuck in a Berlin disco and couldn't get out: it was essentially a dark tinged serious work and though it peaked at # 2 in the UK Charts, and though I consider it their best work, it isn't a crowd pleaser. Zebra is a mixed bag and with their first move into Gamble And Huff style ballads, it seems like a populist bag as well. It is amazing how the band managed to move from oldie to newbie (never ever heard bie) and lose NO ONE, not even Susan Sarandon (who was sitting opposite me).
If "Kiki" was the most fun, "Invisible Light" was the best song of a set without a single dud: it isn't a personal fave but man did Jake push his falsetto as hard as humanly possible: a thriller light show flickering on the fronting couples interplay and an audience of fanatics singing the chorus, and the light first visible and then in, was both fun and disturbing as Jake went all greek god on us.
I haven't mentioned Scissor Sisters gay component yet, though "The Year Of Living Dangerously" is as powerful an unambiguous man to man love song as you will ever hear. I feel about their sexual preference much the way I do about B-52s only less so. The band was formed out of the New York gay nightclub scene, but we are not discussing Bronski Beat here: both Jake and Ana are desirables whatever your orientation might be. Any rate, the audience was 75% male homosexual, and the girls that were there seemed more like dance than lipstick lesbian fans. So maybe they need help on their crossover appeal.
Could it have been better? Yeah. No "Night Moves"???? But it really doesn't matter, from "Skin The Cat" to, dedicated to Jake's own Mama in the audience, "Take Your Mama", to a set closing spectacular "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" which got an audience that hadn't stood still dancing even more, it made SS claim that this was like playing the family basement all the truer and all the more intimate and more more more fun.