Only at Beach Goth — a dizzyingly diverse festival curated by Orange Country garage/surf/psych band the Growlers, and featuring everyone from Bon Iver and James Blake to Tricky, TSOL, and even TLC — would the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race fit right in. So it was there, on Saturday at the Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif., that Drag Race divas Adore Delano, Ginger Minj, Sharon Needles, and Alaska 5000 — all singing live — donned some day drag and made their proper, official rock festival debut.
And they totally pulled it off. To borrow a phrase from RuPaul himself, they didn’t $%^& it up.
Season 6 top three finalist and fan favorite Adore opened the show with a gritty, intense cover of Neil Diamond’s Pulp Fiction/Urge Overkill-popularized “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” and her original slow-jam “I Adore U,” while serving festival-fashion realness in a fringed vest and lace bellbottoms — an outfit, she explained, that reflected her new musical direction.
“I’ve been super-obsessed with the blues lately; for my next record, I’m kind of going to be focusing on my direction in that area,” Adore told Yahoo Music’s Reality Rocks backstage at the “super-vibey” Beach Goth fest. “I’ve been studying the history of blues and how it influenced the U.K. rock movement in the ‘70s. I’m listening to everything from Nina Simone to Jimmy Page.”
(videos below contain profanity)
Season 7’s self-proclaimed “glamour toad” and “cross-dresser for Christ” Ginger Minj — also making a bold fashion statement in a Hillary Clinton-patterned blouse — went retro as well, with a torchy cover of R.E.M.’s ‘90s classic “Losing My Religion.” She then lustily dedicated her own “Bad, Bad Boy,” from her just-released debut album Sweet T, to a young man named Daniel in the front row, much to his blushing delight.
Sharon Needles, the Gothic scream queen of RPDR Season 4, came appropriately dressed to kill this pre-Halloween weekend, vamping through her original creepy floor-filler “Dracula” and the classic “Supernature” by Italian/French disco legend Cerrone. (“Cerrone was the name of my cat, who recently died. It doesn’t get more Goth than that,” Sharon quipped.)
And Alaska 5000, fresh off her triumph on Drag Race All-Stars 2, wore a crowning-worthy gown and brandished a scepter while performing her singles “Ru Girl” and “The T,” the latter from her brand-new sophomore album, Poundcake.
If any doubters needed proof that these queens are tomorrow’s new rock stars, their packed, enthusiastically received Beach Goth concert — which actually took place on the same stage that hosted icons Patti Smith, the Violent Femmes, and the Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr., as well as the Growlers themselves — was it.
“The kids are dragging us into the mainstream. The young people are making that happen,” Adore told Yahoo Music after the show. “This [sort of revolution] happens in every generation. It happens every decade. And it’s happening again. Kids want to see weirdness — and they’re gonna get it! We’re feminine but we’re masculine, it’s weird and it’s confusing, and it’s new. And that’s all it has to be.”