Boisterous Bis Prove They Can Rock

Oft-dismissed Scottish pop-punkers' hour-long set showcases their latest album, Social Dancing.

SAN FRANCISCO — Scottish pop-punkers Bis took over the

Great American Music Hall on Wednesday night with their spunky,

danceable anthems of teen rebellion.

The band plowed through its synth-punk catalog with an exuberance that

had the mostly teenage crowd dancing and hopping along throughout the

hour-long set.

Critics have dismissed Bis for their youth and often bratty, pop-punk

style. Undaunted by charges their music is cartoonish, they embraced

that idea by writing the theme song for Cartoon Network's "Powerpuff Girls" series. But Bis have more to offer than disposable fluff — they proved they can really rock.

The band — singer/guitarist brothers Sci-Fi Steven, 23,

and John Disco, 21 (born Steven and John Clark), and singer/keyboardist

Manda Rin, 22 — formed five years ago in their native Glasgow.

The first unsigned band ever to appear on the UK music show "Top of

the Pops," Bis were recruited to the Grand Royal label by Beastie Boy

Mike D after an intense bidding war.

"This is a dance song and I want you all to dance!" John Disco

declared as the trio launched into the third song of the set, the

rambunctious single "Eurodisco" (RealAudio excerpt), from their third full-length album, Social Dancing, released in the States last month.

The animated John Disco jumped, smiled, danced and rocked out on his

guitar, while Sci-Fi Steven hopped and swayed center-stage. Manda Rin

kept the right side of the stage alive with her boisterous bouncing

and twisting.

On Social Dancing, Bis move away from their bratty punk sound

to focus more on electronic dance pop. Further illustrating the new

direction was the new, guitarless "Are You Ready?," with the brothers

taking over Manda Rin's keyboards while she bounced around center-stage.

"In the future, we'll probably experiment more with beats, put more

emphasis on that, but not move in one specific direction," John Disco

said backstage before the show. "Other artists I admire do that kind

of thing, using little bits of everything. We've always been rather

like that anyway."

The band sprinkled the set with older hits, such as "Starbright Boy"

and "Monstarr" from 1997's The New Transistor Heroes, the

latter with Rin singing through a megaphone.

"We're gonna slow it down a bit 'cause we're old," joked Sci-Fi

Steven as they dove into the relatively downbeat "Detour." They

followed it up with a crowd favorite, "School Disco," from the 1996

This Is Teen-C Power! EP, which got the audience pogoing again.

"They are so fun live, such a great onstage presence," Josh Rohmer,

26, of San Francisco said. "And they're so confident and together for

being so young."

An hour after they began, Rin and Sci-Fi Steven took over each

other's instruments for the band's last number, the gorgeously peppy

"Shopaholic" (RealAudio excerpt), which several fans had been shouting for all evening.

"I think I'm the oldest person here," Sarah Stinson, 27, of Oakland,

Calif., said. "But they're so fun and energetic and really tight. God,

what was I doing when I was that age?"