WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHEN?: 15/8, tour runs to 24/8/18
SETLIST: Good Friends; I Can’t Decide; Big Bushy Moustache; Fit Ain’t One Thing; Laura; Sad Song Backwards; Everything I’ll Ever Need; Take Your Mama; Clothes Off; S.O.B; The Bruiser; Palace In the Sky; I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’; Creep City; Mississippi Delta
The line: ‘The Londoners are swell, and they seem like they adore me’ from new song Mississippi Delta is received rapturously here – and with good reason.
- Read on for reasons including how Jake Shears sounds very Scissor Sisters
14 years ago the Scissor Sisters, the band in which frontman Jake Shears made his name, played this venue on their way up and now it is the London launch venue for an album bearing its singer’s name which has been out less than a week.
The last song that is played by the DJ before he appears is All That Jazz from Chicago which sets the scene well for the Broadway-esque level of showmanship that we are about to enjoy.
Shears enters in top hat and tails looking very much like a circus ringleader and it’s perhaps little surprise that the Greatest Showman-levels of energy he injects into his performance cause an early wardrobe malfunction that sees him stripped of his trousers and resplendent in a basque.
We saw the Scissor Sisters at many London venues in their heyday including The 02, Brixton Academy and Camden Roundhouse. They were always a band with a special affinity with their fans and the live shows were a chance to celebrate this with them.
How then would Shears cope with the loss of his band (although its replacement is sturdy and sax-heavy) and fellow frontwoman Ana Matronic?
Well, there are a sprinkling of the Sisters’ greatest hits here and the show’s highlight is when Shears leaps exuberantly into the crowd to sing big hit Take Your Mama with them.
The best bits of the new self-titled album are the raucous Clothes Off (which reminds of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition), the Dolly Parton-ish Sad Song Backwards and previously mentioned Mississippi Delta which evokes Dear Prudence of all songs.
The 70s Elton John-esque vibe that saw the Sisters at their most successful is best realised on Creep City and it becomes clear that the album will be welcomed by most of the band’s fans, although it boasts little that will be quite as memorable as their biggest hits.
A curiosity then as Shears is back where it all began for him, full of showbiz flair, with his biggest fans having fun but a record that is not quite as must-have as his band’s back catalogue.