Live Music Reviews

Scissor Sisters @ Astoria, London

3 April 2004


Scissor SistersGiven the respective backgrounds of the lead singers – Jake Shears as a go-go dancer and performance artist Ana Matronic as the hostess of a Lower East Side cabaret – it’s not surprising that a Scissor Sisters gig is about much more than just music.

Shears is one of those charismatic performers that dominates the stage. Being terminally cute with a perfect body helps of course, especially when it’s displayed in dirty denim bib & brace accessorised with furs. But it’s the energy that is most beguiling, as he bounces round the stage like Rik Mayall in The Young Ones but with a gorgeous grin instead of the silly faces.

They kick straight into the new single Take Your Mama with a riot of sound and colour, Ana Matronic flailing a dress apparently made from those beaded curtains your grandma used to keep the flies out. She makes them look good, however. She’s no sylph but she’s gorgeous too – and what a mover, as she is to prove all evening.

Babydaddy (bass, synth) is more low key in black, his distinguishing features the beard and the pork-pie hat. Del Marquis on guitar looks as if he’s strayed into the wrong gig, in his sharp black suit – but then you spot the glitter tie. Patrick Seacor on drums is – hidden behind the drums, and there’s a keyboard player too – who he?

Jake and Ana are the dominant forces on stage however, and their delight in playing off one another is obvious. Between each song there’s banter, and it’s a real shame that the woolly sound means a lot of this is lost (at least from my perch in the circle). Love In The Back Seat follows after a lengthy discussion about Passions, an American soap opera, while something is fixed on Del’s guitar. Then Better Luck Next Time and Tits On The Radio, one of my personal favourites.

The ’80s disco feel comes out much more live than on the album, and after one heavy disco number culminating in “We are SCISSOR SISTERS!” huge green balloons drop from the ceiling – now it really is party time.

We’re treated to virtually the whole of the debut album Scissor Sisters, including the anthem Mary (nice guitar break) and the first big single, Pink Floyd cover Comfortably Numb – cue for the audience to go wild. Hearing this live makes you realise it’s probably the Staying Alive for today…

Filthy/Gorgeous is wild – and spurs the release of giant confetti. The wonderful Return To Oz completes the set, but of course that can’t be the end.

There’s just no question of Scissor Sisters escaping without an encore – this gig was sold out weeks ago and the audience (all ages, both sexes…) demands their return. Time is limited though as G*A*Y night follows, and we have to be satisfied with Laura (Jake now in black leather hipsters and a Matador jacket…) and the jittery, infectious Music Is The Victim. Not tonight it isn’t.


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More on Scissor Sisters
Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour
Scissor Sisters – Night Work
Scissor Sisters – Ta-Dah
Scissor Sisters @ Trafalgar Square, London
Festival Diary: Benicassim 2006