WRITTEN BY: NICHOLAS BERGERON
I had no idea what to expect as I waited in line to see Sharon Needles. As one of the world’s most famous drag queens, Sharon has tackled reality television, topped the dance/pop charts with her music debut, and even collaborated with Geoffrey Mac for her own fashion line. More impressive still, it was all while retaining the unapologetically punk core that led her into the hearts of fans world-wide and kept her on the tip of her detractors’ tongues.
Before the Dark Lady of Drag took the stage however, the crowd was treated to performances by local drag act Pretty Girl with her special guest Pi. Wearing her signature makeup mask and a demented cow outfit complete with functional udders, Pretty Girl brought her A-Game with an arresting showcase of her unique brand of drag terrorism. The two shared a bottle of “Windex” while performing the “Grapefruiting Technique” from the now iconic Youtube classic on unsuspecting front-rowers, giving a rendition of Lana Del Rey’s “Cola” set to “Ol’ McDonald,” spewing milk on the crowd during “Milkshake,” and professing their love of Wawa hoagies. Following the queens was Philadelphia-based queer indie group The Homophones. Frontman Jason Ferraro spent a good portion of the night wearing one of Sharon’s wigs as he and his newly reformed band played a raucous set of original songs while sharing the stage with an assortment of balloons and Easter decorations. The group played a number written about one of their favorite movies “Fried Green Tomatoes,” and then closed the show with their song “Everyone’s Dead” featured on iconic queer filmmaker Bruce La Bruce’s 2008 film “Otto; Or, Up With Dead People.”
Once Sharon was ready for the stage, however, she didn’t disappoint. The Queen of Halloween opted out of a traditional drag performance of lip sync numbers and gimmicks on Friday. Instead, the RuPaul’s Drag Race winner and legendary fan favorite treated Kung Fu Necktie to a hand-picked selection of songs from her hugely successful debut album PG-13 and her follow-up recording “Taxidermy” in an intimate musical performance. Sharon Needles may be “sharing needles” but contrary to her name, Sharon shared the stage with nobody. Opting out of an accompanying live band, Sharon lent her vocals to a pounding instrumental backing track, a not-so-subtle reminder to her flock who the real star of the night was. Needles graced the stage donning a glittering red devil outfit, a telling choice for the coming debauchery of the evening, for her opening number “Supernature.” PBR in hand, she bantered with the crowd between numbers about everything from the Trump administration to Jesus’s crucifixion (A fitting subject for a Good Friday performance!) Needles also touched on the slew of celebrity deaths over the course of 2016 before plunging into a touching David Bowie tribute of his classic hit “Space Oddity.” All in all, Sharon Needles came, saw, and conquered. Her delivery was absolutely excellent and she slayed each number with the conviction that earned her the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar” in 2012. If you’re looking for a spooktacular evening of gender-bending and mayhem, be sure to grab a ticket next time her motorcade rolls through town. You won’t want to miss it.
- Call Me On the Ouija Board
- Space Oddity
- This Club Is A Haunted House
- Dead Girls Never Say No
- Everyday Is Halloween