Four albums into their career, Scissor Sisters have long mastered the art of transforming their nocturnal dance pop into something epic and communal in a live setting. No matter how you feel about the New York band’s latest songs, chances are that when Jake Shears sings them in concert, likely in a see-through top and pants he’s been poured into, you’ll be shouting them right back at him.
In a packed club on a muggy summer night, like Saturday’s show at the House of Blues, is exactly how you should experience Scissor Sisters’ music. Comfort zones don’t exist at a Sisters performance. Strangers’ sweaty elbows rub against yours, followed by torsos bumping together.
Scissor Sisters are back on the road behind “Magic Hour,” a new album that pushes the group into more beat-driven territory. Previous hits such as “Take Your Mama” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’ ” don’t make you move because of their rhythm; you dance because of their carefree spirit, how euphoric they make you feel while singing them at the top of your lungs.
By contrast, the band’s newest songs are slaves to the rhythm. “Shady Love” and “Let’s Have a Kiki,” both highlights at the House of Blues, were the ultimate argument for style over substance — meaningless lyrics with an attitude that means everything.
Ana Matronic, Shears’s fellow bandleader, had plenty of attitude to spare. She remains pop music’s reigning (well, only) female drag queen. Her sass is as integral to the band as Shears’s falsetto wail and pelvic thrusts. “I know you’re probably gay, but you’re just like I like ’em: tall, dark, and nerdy,” she told a fan near the stage.
With Shears falling in line with the two backup singers, Matronic got her own moment to turn the stage into a runway on “Kiss You Off.” Its chorus was as haughty as her electric green dress: “Kiss you off my lips / I don’t need another tube of that dime-store lipstick / Well, I think I’m gonna buy me a brand-new shade of man.”
Because Shears and Matronic command the spotlight so well, it’s easy to forget just how integral their bandmates are. Without the twin assault of Del Marquis on guitar and Babydaddy on bass, songs like “Comfortably Numb” and the closing “Music Is the Victim” would not have had the glam-rock edge they require.
Rising rapper-singer Rye Rye opened the show, and like the Sisters’ new album, her songs are propulsive odes to the dance floor. She explained “DNA” was essentially her theme song: “I do this because it’s natural.”