The music of the internet took over Cleveland’s stages this month, including viral hit maker UPSAHL and genderfluid genre-bender Dorian Electra
Introducing a new series, The Cauldron’s monthly concert roundup, reviewing and recapping the previous month’s entertainment offerings. Want to add your experiences to future articles? Contact us.
February 7th, 2022, with 3l3d3p
My first concert of the month (and my first concert in months) was Dorian Electra at the Beachland Ballroom. The genderfluid icon was touring for their second studio album, “My Agenda,” a commentary on toxic masculinity with frequent references to pop culture moments like Alex Jones’s famous claim that there are “chemicals in the water that turn the friggin’ frogs gay!”
That sense of camp is thoroughly represented across Electra’s visuals, fashion, and songwriting. The album is quite frankly an absurd combination of styles, and to quote from Wikipedia, “a hyperpop, experimental pop, protest-pop, pop, nu metal, and dubstep album that features elements of heavy metal, glitch pop, techno, baroque pop, trance, bubblegum bass, EDM, happy hardcore, gregorian chant, deconstructed club, trap, hardstyle, shock rock, europop, hardcore, and viking metal.”
That said, it is a masterpiece, and Electra managed to perfectly translate those references and influences to the stage, taking on the character of a mall ninja and incel with satirical anthems “Gentleman” and “M’Lady.” “Edgelord,” featuring Rebecca Black (of “Friday” fame), also stood out for its jokerfied commentary on society. While none of the featured artists were there, the crowd carried their energy and sang along.
Standing alone for the first half of the show, Electra commanded the audience with their wild costume and sword prop helping them seem larger than life. Two dancers later joined, keeping the show engaging all the way through. A costume change brought the show into the world of “My Agenda.”
The encore included a much-awaited performance of Replay (Dorian Electra Remix), which appeared on Lady Gaga’s recent release “Dawn of Chromatica.” The remix totally transforms the track, bringing a grungier feel to one of the poppier tracks on the original record, and fitting for Electra’s aesthetic.
Overall, Electra electrified the audience with amazing talent and commitment to a visual and musical style dripping in post irony due to its simultaneous satirical nature and artistic merit.
Learn more about Dorian Electra.
February 19th, 2022, with Grumpy Plum
UPSAHL was a new artist for me, and I’m sure many others. Her debut album, “Lady Jesus” was released late last year, however, she has been releasing music for nearly 10 years, since she was just 14 years old. This level of experience has earned her some success, both as a songwriter and artist.
Her songwriting credits include songs for Madison Beer, Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie and Little Mix. She is also the artist behind “Drugs,” which rose in popularity as a sound on TikTok, and currently has 1.2 million videos.
Listening to her music prior to the show, I had some concerns stemming from her viral fame. Specifically, the length of her songs trended towards two minutes, a common strategy to maximize streams in a music economy run by streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music rather than album sales of the past.
This fear was somewhat justified, with her set falling at only 45 minutes or so. However, those minutes were well spent, and the show was not a disappointment in the slightest. Between strong live vocals and an engaging stage presence, there wasn’t a boring moment in the evening.
Also showing her instrumental skill, UPSAHL performed on guitar and bass, introducing extended instrumental sections to several songs including “IDFWFEELINGS.” Acoustic renditions of tracks like “Arizona” and “Fake Bitch” also displayed her range, breaking up the danceable set with a more laid-back segment.
However, the energy returned, and she saved one of the most danceable, “Lunatic,” for last, along with an encore of her hit “Drugs.” UPSAHL’s talent in all facets of the performance was clear, and I am looking forward to her future releases and performances.
Learn more about UPSAHL.
Grandstand Media provided complimentary tickets for an unbiased review.