It must be hard being in Fischerspooner. After pottering about in theblossoming electroclash scene for a couple of years, you burst through tothe mainstream in a blaze of glory. Emerge is christened the greatestdance track since I Feel Love by just about everybody. But both youralbums fail to set the charts alight and the backlash starts. It’s a good job then that Casey Spooner andWarren Fischer have taken the highs with the lows and come out flouncing.
As much performance artists as they are musicians, Fischerspooner set out tocreate elaborate live performances from the off. Spectacular they may havebeen, but for most, the expensive overdramatics of what were essentiallylip-synched shows were too much to stomach. It was telling when, in 2005, Fischerspooner returned to the UK live scene for a showat London’s Scala that was so stripped of art and band-focused that theywere largely unrecognisable.
So for Smirnoff (the sponsors of the evening’s Electric Cabaret event) tobook the band for their launch event is a brave, albeit shrewd, move. As thecabaret and burlesque scene booms, it was guaranteed that, particularly insuch a grand venue as Koko, Fischerspooner would fit in perfectly. Even youreveryday punter was invited to be part of the magic with free boas, hats andfancy headgear distributed upon arrival and cocktails flowing aplenty ashuman beatboxers, men inside balloons and can-can girls (all hosted by thevery lovely Annie Mac) kept the waiting crowd entertained.
Having opened with Wire cover The 15th, the party really started whena canon full of red glitter tape was launched into the audience duringSweetness. Never one to skimp on outfits Casey appeared resplendentin a military style jacket, matching 3/4 length pants and knee-high boots,accompanied by ethereal dancers and the rest of the band. Descending intoMadonna-esque levels of costume changes (and using instrumentals such asMegacolon to neatly cover them) this was only the first of fouroutfits for an hour performance, which was to include a harlequin suit and afabulous red, glittery coat.
While the assembled masses went crazy for the drum-beat heavy Happyand the David Byrne-scribed lyrics of Get Confused, it was theoft-overlooked We Need A War that made the most impression. It mayalways be fun to wrongly sing “we need a war of knickers” during the chorus,but it was here that the strong band and stunning theatrical elements ofFischerspooner’s work came together most effectively. IntroducingEmerge with “This is known as selling out,” their albatross was cutoff in its peak (later to return as an encore), before continuing intosound-a-like new song Unrealistic.
A final cannon of glitter finishes the show, and while it might be theScissor Sisters who are riding high in the charts, the audience surely can’thelp but realise it’s these original underground New York scenesters whowrote the book on flamboyant, mesmerising live shows.