Scissor Sisters' primary concept is audaciously simple. Exaggerating the notorious excesses of the disco era has allowed the New York-based band to become one of the most interesting and entertaining acts of the past decade. The quintet amplifies the dance music's throbbing beats, mutates the flamboyant fashion of the '70s into even more garish styles and embraces the genre's uninhibited sexuality with outlandish élan.
Scissor Sisters' superb musicianship and dazzling stage show, however, make the band much more than peddlers of nostalgia. Augmented by a keyboardist and two background vocalists, the core quintet displayed remarkable precision. Without the aid of any props or special effects, Scissor Sisters are visually compelling. Every song was paired with a carefully choreographed routine acted out by dynamic vocalists Jake Shears and Ana Matronic.
The 17-song setlist included the first seven tracks from the fine new album "Magic Hour." The fresh material was no less rewarding than old favorites. The percussion-driven "Let's Have a Kiki" offered risqué fun. A rendition of the immaculate pop anthem "Only the Horses" soared. The lusty ditties "Baby Come Home" and "Shady Love" also received warm receptions.
Yet most revelers came to hear the band's startling cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," the celebratory "Tell Your Mama" and the somewhat shopworn hit "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'." Only during the latter song did the band seem reliant on a gimmick. Rather than evoking the novelty act the Village People, Scissor Sisters work in the tradition of stars like Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna by fulfilling the transcendent promise of pop music.
Rye Rye: Supported by a DJ and two dancers, Rye Rye's energetic opening set was slightly disappointing. One of the most interesting new faces in dance music, the 21-year-old protégée of M.I.A. rapped over backing tracks that contained her voice. Even so, there was nothing uncertain about Rye Rye's charisma. She's a riveting presence with an intriguing sound.
Scissor Sisters setlist
Any Which Way
Keep Your Shoes
Baby Come Home
Kiss You Off
Take Your Mama
Year of Living Dangerously
Let's Have a Kiki
Skin This Cat
I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
Only the Horses
Music Is the Victim
| Bill Brownlee, Special to The Star