It’s pretty clear at this point that I am someone who is a frequent goer to London drag shows. London is a mere 22 minutes away by train, and as there are trains back home until half 1 it’s pretty ideal. However, I do want to attend more shows that aren’t in London – so I decided to venture forth to Birmingham for Dragpunk’s Drag! Me To Hell.
After doing most of my makeup on a coach with the child next to me watching in fascination and confusion, I ended up finishing my eyeliner and putting on my outfit in a Wetherspoons toilet. Let me tell you I never, ever want to do coach makeup again.
I also had a pretty hefty backpack with me as I had nowhere to drop it off, which made the journey even more stressful. But after meeting a few friends (specifically Max, who I attended the show with and who housed me for the night) I felt somewhat more at ease. So many people were in drag with fantastic makeup, outfits- it was truly a great sight to see, especially as I feel many of these people were under 18 and don’t often get the opportunity to venture outside in drag.
The show began with Dragpunk’s own Lilith who was the host for the night. She opened the room to the ghosts and ghouls of the night, the first of which being Dragpunk performer Tacky. Tacky performed a mix that included ‘Livin’ in the Sunlight, Laughin’ in the Moonlight’, but performed as an ode to a teddy chihuahua which then went into Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” – honestly, about as iconic as it sounds. Tacky is always a hilarious performer to see, and I think it was pretty clear from this point on that despite being a Halloween show, it wasn’t all going to be super-serious, intense, horror performances. But there were definitely quite a few of them.
I’m pretty sure Paul Aleksandr was the next performer, with Marilyn Manson’s version of “Sweet Dreams are Made of This” (which I just now had to find on spotify because I didn’t actually recognise it initially), and this was definitely a more intense performance thank Tacky’s camp comedy. With white face-makeup and covered in bandages, Paul’s performance was everything you could want and indeed ask for in a Halloween number, partnered with the perfect song.
Next on was Dragpunk’s first guest for the night, Cosmic Crum, performing ‘Seven Nation Army’ joined by two helldogs. Being helldogs, they were chained up, and ended the performance covered in blood after passionately making out. Cosmic Crum themselves also looked incredible. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of them but I have stolen this one off their Instagram-
This is where my memory goes slightly hazy, and if I get the order wrong here I apologise- but I do definitely remember everyone’s numbers as they were all incredible. I’m going to be saying that a lot. But I do recall that it was Tanja Mackenzie next. This one I only recognised as a Sharon Needles’ ‘Piano Wire’ number when I heard her iconic laugh in the song. But Sharon Needles is the queen of Halloween, and the only person who would write the lyrics ‘I should have killed you when your bones were soft’ – so it was a pretty solid choice for a spooky number.
Eva Serration was up next. This was one of my favourite performances of the night and possibly one of my favourite performances I’ve seen live, too. The number was inspired by Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s Monster and not only did Eva deliver a killer performance, but she looked absolutely incredible whilst doing it. As someone who does not regularly attend Birmingham events, I was looking for new performers (other than Dragpunk, of course) to fall in love with, and Eva is definitely one of my new favourites.
Next on was Tanja once again, this time performing a mix inspired by the Salem Witch Trials, which I love, but unfortunately I was not 100% present for this performance. This was the point of the show where my body decided to feel fairly fragile and I had to sit down for a moment to regain any strength I previously had. But from the videos on Tanja’s Instagram (and my friend Fern informed me that the song she used was from an old Norwegian musical – it fit PERFECTLY) it looked fantastic. I could fully do an entire Halloween drag show based upon the Salem Witch Trials, or just historical events that still to this day make no sense. I love drag performances inspired by history and I would 100% be open to seeing much more of it.
The final performer of the night was the phenomenal Ruby Wednesday who, unlike most of the other performers, I have seen before – albeit a while ago. Ruby has publicly posted on their Instagram story about their mental health and experiences with it, and why they have been slightly absent from both shows and social media. It’s an openness that I have a vast amount of respect for, especially in a community where so many of us are struggling. Ruby is also everything I could want in a drag artist – goth and nonbinary – so I was hugely excited to see her again and she did not disappoint. Even though I will admit I did not know the songs whatsoever (I think one was a Royal Blood number and I do not have the foggiest clue about the other), I was reminded why Ruby was always one of my favourite London queens to see and obsess over. Ending the performance with literal sparks, I hope everyone in Birmingham now appreciates the incredible talent that is Ruby Wednesday.
For Dragpunk’s first show of their own, Drag! Me To Hell was honestly amazing and they should be proud of themselves for putting it together, and creating a safe-space for LGBT+ people both over and under 18. By putting a spotlight on other performers rather than just themselves, Dragpunk proved to be individuals who clearly just have a deep-rooted love for drag and the community it can create. The thing I’m most excited about is that this was only their first event – they can definitely do so much more in the future, and I’m excited for particularly the Christmas show they have lined up. All in all, it was a fantastic night!
Make sure to follow all the performers on Instagram: