Scissor Sisters – Magic Hour Tour
Sydney Opera House, Thursday 27th September
Review by Matt Harden
The experience had already begun as I decided to leg it from Oxford Street to the Opera House in a mesh singlet with gold chains. I followed two bears holding hands that were obviously headed to see the same band as me, a band that packages their pop with intended high camp. Everything was tied to a theme.
The Scissor Sisters are whom the average folk listen to if they’re feeling fabulous. They’ve become an entry level to the gay culture brand, like the feather boa people toss over their shoulders to watch the Mardi Gras parade. Like Elton and Bowie before them, they’ve found a voice in the mainstream with unconcealed sexuality.
Sirens blaring signified the show’s start. The two leads, Jake Shears and Anna Matronic, suggestively shimmied whilst singing Any Which Way, a song pitched high enough to shelf itself with the Bee Gees. Any which way you did look, the Sisters were in full-boogie flight, especially when Shears’ body was overcome with groove spasms. You really gained a sense of appreciation for the physicality in his showmanship. By their second number, Keep Your Shoes On, he was flavouring the stage with his self-made dressing of sweat, dripping from his chin.
Seeing Scissor Sisters live is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Especially when a pulsating, strobe light encourages the entirety of the concert hall to be in motion with the enduring beat in their performance of Invisible Light, immediately followed by the bouncy Shady Love. That was the climatic, heart rate rising peak of the workout.
Of course, slotted in the set-list somewhere, like a hot flush, was Let’s Have A Kiki. A song like Madonna’s Vogue that seems to be nurturing its own branch of club culture. With its easy to follow routine, we’re all doing it, and we’re all having one. Kikis are marvellous, and this one, performed by the creators themselves, was beyond that.
For a pop group that has their roots dyed in subculture, performing at the Opera House seemed like mismatching styles. But their performance somehow renovated that refined atmosphere with a disco colour-chart.
The band later chuffed that they felt privileged performing at a venue that felt “legitimate”. Like they’d really made it now, considering Jake’s confession in thinking they’d be performing in the building’s basement instead. But by the concert’s close you were sold that the Opera House was, after all, a fantastic venue to have the Scissor Sisters fill with their fluttering vocals. But I feel the argument made against me, from the gentleman seated beside me, that I shouldn’t dance so much, would’ve been less in his favour if the concert were held in a more expansive space. I dedicated I Don’t Feel Like Dancing to him, and that’s the song they closed with before reappearing for an encore with their electro-hearted Only The Horses.
Their performance was exactly how it was expected to be; there wasn’t any real surprise. Except that Anna came across as more of a lead than Jake did. Proving to be a real-life, living set of instructions on what every drag queen should aspire to be like.
If you explore Scissor Sisters beneath their disco-mirrored exterior, chances are you won’t find much, but substance becomes null and void when you’re feeling antsy for entertainment. And like their band name suggests, seeing them live positions you in a pleasurable way to satisfy those urges.
Photos from the Scissor Sisters’ Klub Kiki afterparty at Oxford Art Factory are shown below.
Review by Matthew Lang
“I’m not objectum sexual but I am objectum-curious,” Ana Matronic shouts from the stage to the delight of the audience. “And if there’s one building I’d want to do, it’s the Sydney Opera House! So to be inside her tonight…”
The Scissor Sisters in concert were both different and awesome. Different in that there was no support act and no interval, and awesome in that there was no support act or interval. Instead, there was a great mix of the last eight years of music, even if the kids in the row ahead of me had never heard Take Your Mama before.
Perhaps the best thing about the Scissor Sisters is the range of their music. Personally, I fell for the disco electronic sounds and throbbing dance tunes, along with the idea that finally there would be decent music that spoke of life within the GLBT community, and thankfully for us, they’re still going strong.
Lead singers Jake Shears and Ana Matronic were in top form as they belted out hits past and present. The set was arranged to keep the audience on their feet, with tracks Comfortably Numb and Baby Come Home interspersed with slower songs like Mary and Inevitable, although to be fair, the crowd was up and grooving for a good hour before the show began. I was kind of hoping for Filthy Gorgeous, but it’s entirely possible I’m showing my age there. Following the band for so long, it’s been great to hear Matronic step into the limelight a bit more, even if Shears still the frontman by good musical mile. Their newer music also leans toward theatricality, and having a stage as grand as the Opera House certainly added to the drama of their more rock oriented songs.
Special mention has to go to their latest hit, Let’s Have a Kiki, which was performed a total of three times, once at the concert, and twice at the official Klub Kiki Mardi Gras Afterparty.
Regardless of what you think of their sound, or their refusal to follow trends, the Scissor Sisters remind us of just what it means to be an ‘us’. “I want to dedicate this performance to a very dear friend of mine who is no longer on this earth,” Matronic said, stepping out on stage at the Oxford Art Hotel. “Please raise a glass and dedicate this song to anyone you have lost and let’s party and have a kiki tonight.”
I think that sums up the Scissor Sisters better than anything I can come up with, and eleven years on, they still make us feel like dancing.
And for a Melbourne boy’s first concert in Sydney, it was a Kiki I won’t forget in a hurry.