Pride in New York City is hands down my favorite time of the year and even though it has been a staple celebratory weekend ever since I’ve lived here, I rarely attend official events (outside of passing through the parade). So this year, I decided to let Crushing Vinyl be my guide and landed at the opening Rally at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park. The Rally is the official kick-off for the weekend, sort of like the opening ceremony of Pride events. In July 1969, only one month after the historical Stonewall Riots, the first rally ensued. Tonight, many of us gathered to honor the reemergence of the gay and equal rights movement, accept the call to action to continue fighting for LGBTQ basic human rights, and to hear a little live music! Enter Well-Strung, Sharon Needles and Betty Who…
Well-Strung: An all-male stringed quartet that sings pop music? Sign me ALL the way UP! When these guys walked onto the stage with their instruments and tight shirts, I had no idea what to expect. They jumped off their set with classical pieces…but then something happened. They segued into their arrangements of “Royals,” “Since U Been Gone” and “What Makes You Beautiful.” Unfortunately, the crowd’s energy lacked the hype their show deserved, but these guys were too talented to look away. Their harmonies were on point, the arrangements were super cute and they were clearly having a great time! With two violinists, one cellist, one violist and four gorgeous men, you literally cannot go wrong. Take a look!
Sharon Needles: For those who are unfamiliar (like me before the show) Sharon Needles was the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2012 and has been performing her dance-pop, death and haunted driven shows around the globe! Walking out in heels that reached the Gods, a gorgeous bustier, and a multi-colored peacock looking dress—she opened with her song “This Club Is A Haunted House.” Even though I didn’t connect the music, the set I experienced from Sharon was pure drag rock GLAM. The show was 100% entertaining and I was intrigued by some of her lyrics like, “Get possessed by the DJ…this is the end of our life.” After singing “Dead Girls Never Say No,” “Dressed to Kill,” and her version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and exiting the stage, I wasn’t fully satisfied, but I was definitely in a trance. Who was Sharon Needles? Where did she come from? Why are her legs so beautiful? How does she do it? *insert YouTube rabbit hole*
Betty Who: By the end of the night, you could feel the crowd losing steam and it was becoming more and more apparent that a large portion of the audience was really only here for Demi Lovato (she co-hosted the event). But when 30-foot (not really) tall Betty Who climbed on stage in her cute white outfit, everyone was back in the game. Again, my knowledge of her music was non-existent and I had only known her from the event flyer. So if you’re clueless like me, I’ll give you my best description: she is a mix between dance music queen, Robyn, and pop princess, Katy Perry. During her hit “Heartbreak Dream,” she jumped up and down for what seemed like the entire song and apparently that’s all it took to hook me. I instantly leaned over to my sister and whispered, “I love her…”
The small band (2/3 members being women of color with natural hair, so bless) rocked out with her and even acted as background dancers when Betty broke out her two-step during “Lovin Start”—a slow and sexy jam with a little funk to it. I loved this song. It was a change in pace from her primarily dance tunes, and even if you were a singleton like me in the crowd, you couldn’t help but feel the love in the air.
After watching her perform songs like “Somebody Loves You” and “Alone Again,” I was fully prepped and ready (…pause…) for Pride 2014. I was danced out and ready to celebrate! She literally set the tone for the rest of my weekend and “Heartbreak Dream” has now turned into my go-to pre-game and workout JAM.
RCS’ Takeaway: I loved this night. The weather was gorgeous, I was introduced to some great new music and even got to try some tasty new food truck treats (very, very important)! UGHZ is it Pride 2015 yet????????????????