Monday, 5 July 2010

Scissor Sisters - Brixton 23rd June 2010

Thank god the day at work went quickly, shot across to Brixton as fast as my Etnies would carry me, stopping off at Boots for some sun tan lotion. It was absolutely scorching and on arriving at the venue suddenly clicked that the queue was in the shade on the building, d'oh! Oh well, least I was prepared, and ten quid of pocket, dang!

Once in the queue (thankfully near the front, phew!) I swapped all my cochlear implant parts around for the show (as had my headphones on earlier which use different parts) and managed to snap one of the little brass connection rods in the processing unit that slot into the batteries. I absolutely shat myself in blind panic, "How will I 'listen' to the show, ARRRGGHHHHH"?!?! Tried another battery, no luck, swearing at myself and the blasted thing in my hands, "Why now, WHY?!?!" OH BOLLOCKS!!!! Soon calmed down after bodging the original set of parts back together finding it worked again, and thankfully it lasted throughout the show! *Huge sigh of relief*.

Now, need to get something to get off my chest first; the 'door staff/security' at Brixton Academy (some people out there had already guessed didn't they!?).

Having encountered them before at a previous Skunk Anansie gig where they said I couldn't take the two cornish pasties I had in my bag into the auditorium (what did they expect me to do, slap someone around the head with a limp pastry?!) I kind of knew what to expect. So...... I was stopped and searched, they confiscated my bottle of water and binned it (surely this is classed as 'theft and handling'?!), ironically they didn't touch my sun tan lotion!!! Explained to the guy that I was deaf, that I lip-read and he went into this long spiel. I had to stop him, pointing out that I'd queued for several hours in order to be at the front of the auditorium to lip-read Jake and Ana! He finally obliged to let me into the auditorium, sheeesh! Once inside I was stopped again as had 'wires coming out of my head' to what would look like a bizarre contraption attached to the front of my shirt (it's all my headphone implant gubbins). They told me I was "not allowed to make audio recordings of the concert" and "could I please remove the recording device"!! Where the hell do they find these people? Had to explain what it was and why I need to use it. Needless to say I complained promptly once I got home. I encounter ignorance and prejudice on a daily basis but to have so-called 'professional people' giving me stick really takes the biscuit! Brixton Academy have since apologised to me for the ruckus.

Now onto the show! Little Dragon was the support act.

I don't 'know' any of her music and only knew of her via her collaboration with Damon Albarn and the Gorillaz, last seeing her when I was at the recording of the BBC's 'Later... Jools Holland'. So I was just bopping up and down as she did her thing, talking to a lass next to me that I was in the queue with.

Soon done and dusted and the excitement started to grow as the stage crew changed everything around, really wished that Phil was there but he couldn't get down for the night :(

Lights go off, crowd go mad, on comes Del, the new drummer and Babydaddy, crowd go madder, enter stage right Ana and Jake, crowd go absolutely mental. Straight into one of their new tracks 'Night Work' it paved the way for the rest of the evening.

The first thing that becomes apparent with their new material is how much darker it has become, that is so apparent even with my implant. There are some, what I always call 'Filthy Riffs', you know the guitars that gives a load of 'grunt' along the lines of Prince's '1999' as an example. This is an evolved sisterhood and by god it was good to see them back. Jake pulled no punches, the band ploughed with aplomb through old and new tracks, it was all just so seamless. The audience were bouncing, dancing, singing along, thumping the air, it was just one huge disco..... as it should be.

So let's see, 'Night Work' gave way to 'Laura', 'Whole New Way', 'She's My Man' and 'Something Like This', they all just whizzed past in a heavy pop juggernaut. It wasn't long before Ana, being the delightful and oh-so-innocent person that she is, brought up one of her favourite subjects, fisting! Which lead to the introduction of 'Any Which Way', which is fanTAStic! (And I still can't believe you guys got Kylie singing about fisting at Glastonbury, that was naughty!).

From here on in the setlist continued with an awesome 'Tits on the Radio', 'Harder You Get' and 'Running Out'. The latter of which had me stood astounded at Ana's stamina, running on the spot continuously in four inch high heels for the duration of the song, completely bonkers, but very effective!

Another thing I've noticed with the new music is how much more prominent Del Marquis' guitar work is, I feel it's being pushed a lot more. Granted, he's a hell of a guitarist, it's so easy to get transfixed, watching him play, it's just 'wow'.

Time now for some old school tunes but in no way winding down, the disco-powerhouse tore through 'Take Your Mama', 'Kiss You Off' and 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin'. It was so hard to get a good photo of Jake as he's running all over at 300mph, my pocket camera couldn't take it! Relentless energy, not just with Jake but with all of them. I was happily singing along, bouncing up and down, thumping the air, it was an amazing night, they never fail to impress.

Whilst the show was going on, various Robert Mapplethorpe photos were projected/draped at the back of the stage, all beautifully taken and indeed very homoerotic images. They all tie in perfectly with the 'feel' of the new material and indeed the album cover itself, also a Mapplethorpe print. I definitely sensed influence by the Bee Gee's, most definitely 80's Prince and a touch of the Pet Shop Boys, this is what the band do so well, take old school riffs and put a big contemporary twist on them. So many bands have a singular 'sound', these guys don't, yet in the same breath it's all cohesive, their music is just fucking amazing.

'Fire With Fire', the first release from their new album, was a little bit of a slow burner with me. Having this mental picture of the bombastic 'Filthy Gorgeous' or the uber-camp pop of 'I Don't Feel Like Dancin' it took me a little while to click. Guess it was just an unexpected song, however when it was being performed live it was an unexpected pleasure. It builds and builds and builds then just soars magnificently, they just knew how it was going to sound live.

Coming into the final set we saw them through 'Skin Tight', 'Skin This Cat' and 'Paul McCartney', closing the show with another new track 'Night Life', which sounded quite Bee Gee's crossed with Neil Tennant to me, all good. We knew that once the band had left the stage the show was far from over, and we were right.

To much rapturous applause and screaming they're back, tearing straight into 'Comfortably Numb', can't believe how well they've covered Pink Floyd, they turned that track on it's head into a club anthem. Ana really meant business with the encore, you want proof huh? Here's proof...... you do NOT mess with Ana!!!

Up next was another new track 'Invisible Light' to a pretty downright dirty beat. I actually got a bit emotional during this as my implant was working so well. It hits me every now and again with how lucky I am to have it, so many able-hearing people take what they have for granted. My implant means the world to me, anyway back to the show.

They closed the show with 'Filthy/Gorgeous' as confetti and thousands of Scissor Sisters' Three-Dollar Bills rained down on the audience. The whole auditorium was shaking, everyone going absolutely crazy for it, this is their anthem and it was most certainly their night. It was just a perfect ending to it, sheer elation.

It's a very big welcome back to the mighty Scissor Sisters, you have been certainly been missed. The new material is absolutely awesome and we're hoping, and indeed keeping our fingers crossed, that we will see you guys again at London's O2 Arena like you did with 'Ta-Dah!'.

(No sooner had I posted this blog they announce their December UK Arena Tour, need to cross reference dates, I know we won't make the O2 Arena one as we're away that week :( )

Thank you so much for such an amazing evening.

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