ADORE DELANO | LIVE REVIEW
Tramshed, Cardiff, Tue 15 May
Adore Delano became an instant fan-favourite on season six of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and she’s now transcended that reality-tv competition to a full-band tour following the release of her album Whatever.
Supporting her on this UK tour is Birmingham’s drag/art collective Dragpunk, consisting of Amber Cadaverous, Lilith and Paul Aleksandr. Goth queen Lilith helped put the punk in Dragpunk with her lip sync of Britney Spears’ Toxic, mashed up with post-hardcore band A Static Lullaby’s cover of the same song.
Amber Cadaverous is a perfect example of a woman being a drag queen, and her performance was a polemical lip sync – a big fuck you to RuPaul’s recent controversial comments on drag being a male art form; it even included a riff on a sample from Drag Race. The routine included tracks such as Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel Like A Woman and Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and at the end of the piece she called out to all the young women in the audience that they can be whatever they like – proving that drag is still well and truly political.
Unfortunately technical reasons meant we didn’t get to see Aleksandr’s solo performance, disappointing as this writer has looked forward to seeing him perform for a while. We did get to see him perform in Dragpunk’s group number, a mash-up of Drag Race samples and lip-syncing. During the enforced pause, Amber filled up time by talking to the audience and all three mingled with the crowd after they came offstage; clearly some of the nicest drag performers around.
Adore Delano is a drag queen but there was no lip syncing as this Drag Race contestant – who was also an American Idol semi-finalist – brought her new album tour to Cardiff fans. After two albums of dance/electropop, she went out on her own to make Whatever – an alt/indie post-punk record with autobiographical songs.
Although the Tramshed wasn’t at full capacity, the crowd made itself known, going wild when Adore came onstage. They were captivated as she played Whatever in its entirety; only two songs on the setlist came from elsewhere.
She can sing well and her voice is suited to this type of music. Dressed in tasselled leather and wild wig and hat with a glitter, winged skull on it, she looked and sounded like she’s been doing this punk rock thing for ever… even the cast on her right hand (a recent accident) added to the punk feel and proved that this queen is a trooper. Fans of Drag Race might have got the feeling that she has matured, but there’s still a rebellious, exuberant spirit that makes watching her live a whole lot of fun.
Songs such as Negative Nancy and Pretty Boys Cry have an autobiographical sense to them as she tells the audience a bit more about the songs in between – Pretty Boys Cry being about an ex, as she jokes about not being Taylor Swift. During these interactions with the audience Adore Delano is, well, adorable, whether telling the crowd about how she nearly “beat the shit” out of a homophobic guy or burping into the microphone mid-sentence, she is enormously endearing. She also seems totally genuine: when she says she loves being back in Cardiff you believe her.
At the end of the night the last thing she says to the audience before leaving the stage is “Be nice to each other.” No wonder her fans love her.
words CHRIS WILLIAMS