What a difference a few years makes. This month the SCISSOR SISTERS have been headlining the Mercury Lounge every Wednesday night under a different name for quasi-secret, hard-to-get-into shows. Not so long ago, they were just another local band hoping for a shot at the big time.
Last Wednesday night, I went to see MEGAPUSSI play with their DJ SAMMY JO, MORNINGWOOD, and SPALDING ROCKWELL. (One week they played as BRIDGET JONES’ DIARRHEA; this week they’re PORTION CONTROL.) JIMMY FALLON, Christian Dior designer HEDI SLIMANE, JARED LETO, FRED SCHNEIDER of the B-52’S, JEFFREY DEITCH, and a couple hundred totally crazed Scissor Sisters fans were treated to an intimate set from a band that now regularly plays in front of 200,000 people. The Sisters are slicker and tighter than they were last year. Singers JAKE SHEARS and ANA MATRONIC really put on a show. They move around. Dance. Make eye contact with the crowd. Introducing “Filthy/Gorgeous,” Matronic told a story about watching a couple in Glastonbury fuck in broad daylight to “that UNDERWORLD song from Trainspotting. You know the one that just goes on and on and on and on,” she joked. And lest you think this is the only band composed largely of gay males totally obsessed with female sexuality, Matronic also explained to the crowd that “megapussi” means “big bag” in Finnish. I didn’t believe it either, but after the show, BABYDADDY showed me a photo of such a bag, with the word “megapussi” emblazoned on the front. They played new tunes that seem to have a country-pop sheen, which the crowd (and my ears) responded well to. For their next album, still very much in the making, don’t expect “Comfortably Numb Part 2.”
The morning of the show, I had breakfast with Shears, who will be known forever and always to me as Jason Sellards, the hyperactive 15-year-old who bounced around the café where I worked in Seattle. He was adorable then and is adorable now. I felt like a greedy voyeur as he dished on Live 8, which the band played a few weeks ago in London, to an audience 1,000 times bigger than the one at the Merc, sharing the stage with PAUL MCCARTNEY, ELTON JOHN, COLDPLAY, and U2.
One of my two favorite stories: Just as the band was about to go on, Shears realized that the conservative all-white outfit he was wearing wasn’t going to work for two reasons: MADONNA and BRANDON FLOWERS.
“I walked out of my room and saw Madonna in front of her dressing room with her African chorus, and we were pretty much wearing the same outfit,” he says. Then, “Five minutes after I see Madonna, I see Brandon Flowers wearing an all-white prom suit!”
Like any self-respecting gay man and rock star, he busted out the sequins and feather boa. “HEATHERETTE two days before had magically sent me a white sleeveless rhinestone housecoat with a huge, crazy collar and a white boa. I found a white top hat lying around.
“But,” he says tipping his hat to Madge, “I have to say we both looked amazing.”
My second favorite story: After their set, who comes running after them to tell them how much she likes them? None other than FAYE “MOMMIE DEAREST” DUNAWAY, who loves them so much she listens to the band every day on the treadmill. Says Shears, “I was just shocked! She was so amazing and sweet.” Oh, did I mention that she came with the SULTAN OF BRUNEI? “He’s a big fan too!” says Shears.
While it’s crazy cool to be onstage during the encore with people like McCartney, MARIAH CAREY (“She was so smiley! She seemed like such a nice lady!”), and GEORGE MICHAEL (“I was totally having a CYNDI LAUPER ‘We Are the World’ moment!”), it was Pink Floyd’s performance that moved him the most. “I watched the whole thing from 15 feet away with all their wives. I was bawling. How could you not?” One thing Shears is not, is comfortably numb.