Scissor Sisters Draw the Entire Castro to Downtown Oakland

Categories: Last Night
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Joseph Schell
Scissor Sisters
September 12, 2010
@ The Fox Theater, Oakland

Better than: Being the straight dude at Badlands.

Pretty much the entire Castro migrated across/under the Bay last night to get swayed by the New York glam-disco-sleaze-rock confab known as Scissor Sisters. This fact was established early in the show, when co-singer Ana Matronic raised the question: "How many people schlepped over here from the city?"

Answer: deafening.

"This place actually means quite a bit to us as a band," Matronic continued.

[More deafening.]

So the Fox felt more like a giant disco last night than a rock hall, and Scissor Sisters drove it like a dance club as well. Matronic and frontman Jake Shears played the lead dancers -- to the delight of many in the heavily male crowd, Shears slowly but continually revealed more of his cartoonishly toned body -- and everyone else gyrated, pogoed, grinded and howled at their invitation.

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Joseph Schell
While there was lots to look at onstage -- the duo up front, plus two backup singers, and the Scissor Sisters' full band -- some of the best views were in the crowd, where San Franciscans did the city proud with wild dress. Eyeballs wandered widely, even to those who weren't wearing sequined pants or tight tank-tops. And as the band's beats throbbed, the dancing -- even towards the back of the room -- rarely stopped.

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Joseph Schell
Scissor Sisters are a live outfit -- seeing them is conclusive evidence. Although their records (especially Night Work, the latest) make solid fare for dance-party playlists and reliable (if samey) bounce-through-your-day background, this music begs to be performed. Last night, Shears would send up the crowd with a shake of his rubbery pecs, slowly ripping off pieces of a black body suit. Matronic issued cheeky dialogue and received howls of approval in return. 

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Joseph Schell
As green and red lasers shot through the ornate heights of the Fox, the band worked through songs from its new album -- the barely-innuendo of "Skin This Cat," album high-point "Harder You Get," and tepid power ballad "Fire With Fire," along with plenty of its best older songs. The band's Bee Gees vocal harmonies (fueled by Shears' somewhat comical falsetto) came through precisely the way they do on recordings, and the whole show sounded reasonably clear through the Fox's unpredictable P.A.

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Joseph Schell
At the end, when Scissor Sisters blasted "Filthy/Gorgeous" and the confetti exploded upwards toward the fancy gilded ceiling, it felt strange that the show was over already. The disco party seemed like it would have continued indefinitely; Scissor Sisters are the kind of band that makes you believe Monday morning will never come. But then, most of us had a Bart train back to S.F. to catch.

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Joseph Schell
Critic's Notebook:

You don't say: Anything bad about Scissor Sisters in reviews, apparently: Matronic last night called out a writer in Chicago (?) for criticizing the band. (I believe Matronic's target called their show "a bit boring.") So Matronic told the crowd not to read the band's reviews. (Too late!)

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Joseph Schell
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