It’s Friday night at 9:30 Club, Dorian Electra is here, and it is queer. The crowd, an assortment of glitter and costumes, stirs in anticipation.
There’s cosplays and creatures, fairies and fishnets, leather daddies and m’ladies: everyone restless for the absolute performance to come. You wouldn’t expect Electra’s fanbase to be any different.
As a gender-fluid musical artist, Dorian Electra’s music defies categorization in a similar fashion. It’s pop with a metal twist, electronic with medieval motifs. It’s abrasive, yet inclusive. It’s hyper-exaggerated, and quite frankly, hilarious.
The show comes as one of many long-awaited stops in Electra’s My Agenda tour, showcasing their sophomore album. My Agenda (2020) is a concept album on masculinity from an absurdist queer lens, exploring topics like bromance, incels, gamers, and toxic masculinity. Even the title song is “from the perspective of a conspiracy theorist who is watching their country being taken over by a gay dictator.”
More recently, Electra released an extended edition My Agenda (Deluxe) (2021), featuring a number of remixes and new recordings from during the COVID pandemic.
Enthusiastic opening performances by Lust$ick Puppy and siouxxie sixxsta quickly get people dancing, moshing, singing, and screaming, all with the same enthusiasm reserved for a main act. They make it hard to believe that we were all here for Electra, but only for a second. Each seems focused on hyping the crowd for what’s to come next. In between sets, electronic music blasts, maintaining the craze. Emcees rally the audience to yell for Electra.
Before too long, Dorian Electra makes their entrance in a puff of smoke and strobe lights to the tune of “F the World.” They don an outfit I’d describe as futuristic-medivial-cowboy, entirely leather and complete with cloak, shin-guards, and aggressively pointed shoulder pads. The set starts simple: a few risers and lights with smoke and strobe effects. But Electra’s performance is moving and complex.
Through this first chapter of the performance they sway around the stage, thrashing, swinging, bowing. As they wave a sword at the crowd to “Live By The Sword,” people scream and grasp for a touch.
After moving through an impressive amount of material rather quickly, Electra pops off stage. Soon enough, they’re back, now in their iconic military apparel, maintaining the leather, gender-bending aesthetic of the last fit. Even later there’s another costume change. This time, a pink and white military costume with oversized chaps and large, protruding Bowser-like spikes. Two long, green braids drape down from their cap.
As Electra moves through the rest of the show, they captivate the crowd, increasingly growing the energy in the club to unimaginable new heights. All the while, techs stand by to hand armfulls of water to the audience below. Electra’s show is this mix of high-energy insanity and thoughtful care. After their final song, Electra not only calls to the crowd to get home safe, but to “drink water!”
Apart from the music, Electra’s show was an incredible experience. Throughout the show, every crowd interaction was friendly and positive. In the venue itself, gender neutral signs covered the bathroom doors and volunteers passed out hand sanitizer, condoms, and narcan. I’ve been to 9:30 Club many times before, but never before has it felt so radically welcoming. And all thanks to Dorian Electra’s (very gay) agenda.
Stream Dorian Electra’s My Agenda (Deluxe) on Spotify here.