One of the most popular bands in England happens to be from New York City. They’re Scissor Sisters, whose flamboyant hybrid of disco, glam, and New Wave had immediately caught on with the Brits to earn them popular acclaim and a Top Ten hit with their electropop version of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” (which earned a rave from Floyd drummer Nick Mason). If you are unfamiliar with them, think Elton/Bowie/Roxy Music for the hipster crowd. Scissors Sisters are iconoclasts compared to their (way too) serious-minded peers—they urge you to leave your inhibitions at the door and just let yourself go.
Building a reputation as a visually-attractive, energetic live act, Scisssor Sisters headlined the Siren Festival in Coney Island and provided the antidote to the crowd who baked in the hot sun on a sweltering Saturday. With the funky opening notes of “Take Your Mama” kicking in, singers Jake Shears and Ana Matronic (decked out in a silvery lame outfit) came out started and engaged the audience with their dramatic singing and shimmying onstage.
The band’s set list drew from the self-titled debut album from 2004, which included the beat-laden “Tits on the Radio,” “Laura,” and the ballad “Mary.” Scissor Sisters are also readying the release of a new album, Ta-Dah, in September and played tracks from it such as “Everybody Wants the Same Thing.” The musicians played their brand of dance music like a rock band as Shears sang the high notes with his Barry Gibb-influenced falsetto. It was the bohemian combination of the sleek dance rock of Chic and Duran Duran meeting Tin Pan Alley and cabaret.
Everything was going swimmingly until the band hit a technical glitch. Midway through a song, the power went out. A few minutes later, the band resumed the same song when the same thing happened again, and the crowd energy subsided a bit. Wisely, the Sisters decided to move onto the next number, which ironically was “Comfortably Numb”—they managed to play the song all the way through.
Although the setting wasn’t exactly Studio 54 (though a glittery disco ball hanging in front of the stage tried to serve as a reminder of that era), Coney Island was briefly transformed into one big sweaty disco party. Scissor Sisters’s technicolored pop music mocks convention with gleeful decadence, which adds to their charm. Dull is not in the band’s vocabulary.