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When I saw that Rye Rye and Scissor Sisters would be touring together, my head almost exploded. Would I be able to handle that much neon, strobe lighting, lasers, and club beats in one evening? Heck yes! It was like completing a sweaty Baltimore bass half-marathon fueled completely on adrenaline and then being swallowed up in a congratulatory shiny glitter hug. [Ed. note: Damn girl!]
The diminutive Rye Rye took the stage with her duo of back up dancers, entertaining the crowd with their hardcore club moves. Slinging songs off her latest record Go! Pop! Bang! Rye Rye rapid-fired lyrics over a continuous undercurrent of pumping, dirty beats. She gave us the singles like “Sunshine," a product of her collaboration with M.I.A., and “Boom Boom” -- but then ended with the track that helped put her on Billboard’s 21 under 21 list, the dance hit “Shake It To The Ground.” As Rye Rye swaggered and ferociously spat out her rhymes, her dancers pulled audience members on stage, inviting them to shake their booties to the floor. And you better believe they did! She danced with them, a whirling dervish in riotous turquoise, before wishing us all a good night in her sweet-soft speaking voice.
My sweaty t-shirt has just started to dry and unstick from my back when Scissor Sisters opened up with “Any Which Way.” Three minutes of that and I was back to being a hot mess. The crowd went crazy for Ana Matronic’s mid-song interlude describing the hunt for a bottle-tanned man. The band played with their usual confidence and cheeky antics, but they seem to have also come into a relaxed familiarity, grown out of ten years of touring in mostly smaller venues. Spending an evening with Scissor Sisters, you get the feeling that we are old friends -- it’s like a class reunion for the filthy gorgeous.
Magic Hour, the band’s latest record, is by far their most introspective and reflective, bringing them down to earth. But only slightly -- they are the Scissor Sisters, after all. The set list featured the new material, including “Baby Come Home” and “Inevitable,” making the show a more subdued party rather than the band’s previous dance marathons. Magic Hour is still heavy on electro sounds though, and tracks like “Year of Living Dangerously” have an almost Bee Gees-like quality to them. Jake Shears performed it in homage to his early days in Seattle, standing at the center of the nearly blacked out stage with just a spotlight illuminating him.
The night was a roller coaster of highs and lows, with Jake and Ana pulling us out of the slow song troughs with dance anthems like “Let's Have a Kiki” (my personal favorite) and the classic “Take Your Mama.” Somewhat surprisingly, the show was an almost even split between songs off Magic Hour and their self-titled debut album. “Comfortably Numb,” “Mary," and “Music is the Victim” all made the cut. Sadly, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” was the sole representative from Ta-Dah; I was hoping for “She’s My Man” but was only disappointed for like, ten seconds at best. Especially after Ana Matronic’s sultry bump and grind to the deliciously campy “Skin This Cat.”
It’s a given that Scissor Sisters are going to hand you one hell of a show complete with various degrees of nakedness, wardrobe changes, fog machines, and of course, lasers. But you can also count on the audience giving back just as good as they get by putting on their own show and dressing for the occasion. Jake and Ana Matronic gave shout outs to the rave kids, the drag queens, and the sparkly unicorns amongst us. “I went to visit my old high school today and I saw two homos walking down the street dressed like a nun and a sailor. And I thought, I know exactly where they’re headed,” Jake told us. And he was right on: I saw the sailor in the lobby pre-show.
Scissor Sisters said goodnight in the longstanding tradition of musical theater, with a big showy closing number. Against a video backdrop of white horses running down a beach, Jake belted out their current single “Only the Horses," sending the crowd off that last drop on a fist pumping, dance powered, magnificent ride.