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Jake Shears is making his return to Louisville this Friday

Louisville Courier-Journal logo Louisville Courier-Journal 9/11/2019 Kirby Adams, Louisville Courier Journal
Kim Kwang-seok, Jake Shears, Patrick Hallahan sitting on a bench posing for the camera: Performing with Jake Shears on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on NBC are left to right Mark Palgy (VHS or Beta), Stephen Gladney, Craig Pfunder (VHS or Beta), Jake Shears and MMJ drummer Patrick Hallahan. © Jake Shears Performing with Jake Shears on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on NBC are left to right Mark Palgy (VHS or Beta), Stephen Gladney, Craig Pfunder (VHS or Beta), Jake Shears and MMJ drummer Patrick Hallahan.

When it comes to creative energy, rare originality and sparkly charisma, it's hard to imagine anyone who delivers more sheer delight on stage — whether he's wearing rainbow sequins or not— than Jake Shears. 

OK, maybe Elton John comes close — but considering the two are good friends, we'll call it a tie. 

In fact, Shears is so tight with the legendary performer he calls him "a father figure" and one of the most inspirational people in his life.

With that brand of entertainment twirling in your head — if you crave a night of high-octane dance music with a ballad or two mixed in — the former frontman from the Grammy-nominated glam rock band Scissor Sisters returns to Louisville on Friday.

In a way, Shears' weekend gig at Zanzabar, 2100 S. Preston St., is a bit of a homecoming. Louisville might not seem like a logical stop on his way to perform in England and France, but this is where his self-titled solo album was born and where Shears teamed up with members of one of Louisville's most famous groups, My Morning Jacket.  

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Today, Shears is joined on tour by musicians and friends he met during his months living in Louisville, including MMJ drummer Patrick Hallahan, Dave Givan, a drummer with Jim James' band , as well as Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy from the Louisville band VHS or Beta. Stephen Gladney from New Orleans is also part of the tour. 

Shears got to know the MMJ drummers while recording his album with producer Kevin Ratterman at Louisville's La La Land Studios before its release in the summer of 2018.   

"Oh my gosh, I love Louisville. I lived in the studio while we were working on the album. I made so many friends," Shears told The Courier Journal. "The crew down here is so awesome. We had the best time and everyone was so excited about what we were doing. I found the perfect place and people to do this with."   

Making music at La La Land wasn't Shears' first connection to Kentucky. Fans of Scissor Sisters will remember the group's co-founder, Scott "Babydaddy" Hoffman, grew up nearby in Lexington. The band took a hiatus after their fourth album in 2012.

"I get asked all the time if we'll get back together," Shears said. "I felt like it was important to take a break while we were still having fun and making great music."

At the point when Scissor Sisters stopped performing, the band had been together for 10 years, made four albums and was dubbed by U2's Bono as "the best pop group in the world." 

See also: Your complete guide to the 2019 Hometown Rising country music festival

"I love to entertain," Shears said. "But that was always my dream, and I knew the other members of the group had different dreams so it made sense to take a break." 

Because Shears is one of those creative souls who seems to always be moving toward the next project, his hiatus has led to multiple projects.

He made his Broadway debut as Charlie Parker in "Kinky Boots," and published a memoir, "Boys Keep Swinging," about how he evolved from a shy teenager to performing in gay nightclubs in New York and ultimately filling arenas with hits like “Take Your Mama,” and “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin.'” 

"Now, I am drawing," he said from his home in New Orleans. "I have been doing a lot of art and I love it." 

But maybe not as much as he loves jumping on a stage and entertaining a crowd like he will do Friday in Louisville. 

"I feel like I was put on Earth to sing and dance," said Shears. "I love to be on stage, so I am excited to be coming to ZBar."   

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Reach Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com or Twitter @kirbylouisville. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: courier-journal.com/kirbya.

Tickets to Jake Shears

Cost: $18

When: Friday, Sept 13. Show: 8 p.m. Doors: 7 p.m.

Where: Zanzabar, 2100 S. Preston St.

Information: This is an 18 and over show. zanzabarlouisville.com

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Jake Shears is making his return to Louisville this Friday

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