sun 14/07/2024

Jake Shears, Concorde 2, Brighton review - a blitz of glitz | reviews, news & interviews

Jake Shears, Concorde 2, Brighton review - a blitz of glitz

Jake Shears, Concorde 2, Brighton review - a blitz of glitz

The Scissor Sisters frontman makes Brighton feel like dancin'


One of the biggest crowd roars of the night comes right at the start when Jake Shears runs onstage. He is wearing a grey top hat, a white tail-jacket with glittered lapel-edging, silver glittery trousers, a tight black sequinned vest top, and a bow tie on his bare neck. The 600 capacity Concorde 2, right on Brighton's seafront, is sold out.

The audience had been singing along loudly with the immediate pre-show tune, “All That Jazz”, then cheered when the band walked on looking snappy in matching zig-zagged suits like tropical pyjamas. The bassist is songwriter/sometime pop star Mr Hudson and on drums the hair-mopped Patrick Hallahan from the band My Morning Jacket, but Shears’ pizzazz right away puts everyone and everything else in the shade.

He starts with “Good Friends”, a song dedicated to his beloved new hometown of New Orleans, as well as a gay bar in that city, and also to us all, for Brighton is a city close to his heart (he tells us later that he popped down for Pride the other week on his only day off, intending to dip in, but ended up gunning it until 8 AM). Petite and ripped, Shears prowls the stagefront, occasionally popping down into the crowd during his set. His saxophonist is also a presence, a black dude with long hair whipping about and a sassy way of shaking his tush at the crowd when he’s off duty.

The set consists almost completely of songs from Shears’ recent eponymous album, delivered with gusto and a trad rock band line-up. The best of those songs really zing. “Sad Song Backwards”, his “country song in reverse”, is a post-break-up tune that bursts with euphoria, “The Bruiser”, delivered amid Reeperbahn red lighting, rides its relentless sample of Iggy Pop’s “Nightclubbing” and could become a longterm set staple, and the encore-closing “Mississippi Delta (I’m Your Man)”, a passionate love letter to his new home, certainly will. During “Clothes Off” he tears his silver trousers away to reveal that his sequinned vest is, in fact, a preposterous leotard. Much whooping ensues.

Of course there are a few Scissor Sisters favourites thrown in – “Laura”, “Take Your Mama Out” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” – which are greeted uproariously like the old friends they are. Great songs all. The gamut of Shears’ own new material needs more breadth to hold its own against them. His best new songs are a match but there’s a tendency elsewhere to fall back on a Vaudeville oompah stomp that is both samey and, upon occasion, overly sugary.

But those are quibbles. Shears is clearly pumped up about his revitalised career and it’s great to have him back. He oozes energy and charisma, liveliness and joy and cheek and raunch. He’s a fabulous frontman who, frankly, could be playing any old crap and most would be eating from the palm of his hand. If fate favours him, it’ll be great to watch this whole new chapter grow and flourish but for now, he takes a group band selfie with the crowd after the final number, and they disappear amid a sated tumult of clapping.

Below: Jake Shears performs "Creep City" on the Graham Norton Show

Shears’ pizzazz puts everyone and everything else in the shade


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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