Scissor Sisters, Orpheum Theatre, October 22
This was a hint of Halloween in the air last Sunday as Scissor Sisters finished up a US tour supporting their new Ta Dah! (Universal) at the Orpheum. A couple women in red devil-horn hats, a bunch of colorful feather boas — nothing you wouldn’t see at, say, Avalon on a Sunday night. And as a DJ pumped out thumping house beats from a small console to no noticeable avail, there was reason to think that Avalon — a room with a large, open dance floor — might be a more appropriate venue for Scissor Sisters, a campy clan who emerged from NYC’s club scene only to find a quick home in Great Britain with their stylish, neo-new-wave mix of dance grooves, pop hooks, and risqué lyrics. I’ve always thought of them as the best UK band to come out of the States, a sort of Frankie Goes to Hollywood with better songs and a broader musical palette that embraces everything from Pink Floydian textural excursions to Ziggy Stardust glam guitars to Saturday Night Fever disco, complete with the pitch-perfect falsetto vocals.
But Scissor Sisters didn’t let the limitations of a seated venue ruin the party. Ana Matronic, in a very B-52’s strapless blue dress, gave a pep talk about dancing with abandon, and the lamé-outfitted Jake Shears spent most of the show demonstrating exactly what she meant. It didn’t hurt a bit that in the multi-instrumental trio of Del Marquis, Derek G, drummer Paddy Boom, all of whom took turns at bass, keyboards, and an array of guitars, Matronic and Shears have some serious musical muscle behind them. It’s their job to shock and amuse with colorful lyrics like “Fuck and kiss you both at the same time” (from the new “I Can’t Decide,” a tune that featured electric banjo, of all things) and “You can’t see tits on the radio,” from the showstopping song of the same title. But that wouldn’t amount to much without the instrumental acumen that gives “Lights” its genuine Bee Gees disco or the lush, Elton John piano balladry that bolstered “Land of a Thousand Words.” Indeed, Scissor Sisters brought every bit as much in the way of guitar heroics as they did camped-up falsetto crooning. So even if the venue precluded a full-on dance party from breaking out, there was enough substance behind the expected silliness for Scissor Sisters to handle this theater show with ease.
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