Every night out in the BayArea poses the same question: where are the hot queer people going to be? The answer to this last Tuesday, November 21st, was at The Regency Ballroom seeing London-based artist Blaine Muse, known on stage as Shygirl. Despite the 88 mph winds and sleeting rain, the venue was packed wall to wall with gays bedecked in black leather and futuristic shades that would not have been out of place in a Berlin club. The excitement of the crowd was palpable; it is obvious that this is not an audience of curious partygoers but rather a mass of devoted fans. Milling around before the show, one could overhear stories of this loyalty, with one fan commenting this was the third show of hers he had attended in the past six months.
While no opener was listed on the program for the night, the crowd was pleasantly surprised by the set delivered by Angela Steps, aka Angelita. A London-based visual artist, Angelita has collaborated with Shygirl previously, most recently helping direct her music video for the song “Heaven (ft. Tinashe).” She is also involved in the underground music scene in the UK and Philippines, recently producing a documentary with Boiler Room about the music scene’s response to political unrest in Manila. Her house electronica infused set did not disappoint, pulling listeners into the loops of the beginnings of well-loved songs, never quite reaching their peak before moving onto the next, working the crowd up into a frenzy.
By the time that Shygirl took the stage, the audience was roaring. Foggy pink, purple and blue projections illuminated the mirror hung at a 45 degree angle overthe stage. As she moved across the stage, she appeared to float above the crowd, surrounded by the projections on the surface of the mirror. A highlight of the night was when she lays on the floor to perform “Shlut,” surrounded by reflections of herself, dancing like synchronized swimmers. The surreal imagery along with her cloud-light voice transported the audience to a sensual fantasy of Shygirl’s own design. When on the stage, she is fully immersed in this vision, barely breaking from the mirage to interact with the world outside the glass prism.
The musical zenith of the night is reached as Shygirl performs her hit single “Cleo.” As she sings, the audience echoes her wordsback, and for a second her words are true — we are a fantasy, a movie star,
Cleopatra. When she leaves the stage, the audience cries for her return, unwilling to let the gossamer thread of dream she has created be cut. When she returned to the stage for her encore, the crowd was ecstatic, determined to make the most of the rest of her set. As she wrapped up her final song, everyone went absolutely feral, clambering to grab the towels she wiped her face with and threw to the audience.
As the lights come back up, and the fantasy fades, the crowd is only left with one thought: where and when can we see this goddess again?