Few people can transfix a crowd quite like Mykki Blanco. Since the release of her mixtape Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss back in 2012, Blanco has managed to infiltrate the traditionally hyper-masculine world of rap with her own signature blend of punk performance art, her undeniable charisma and high-octane performances placing her in a league of her own.
Refusing to let her style fall into the (at times) problematic category of "queer rap," Blanco's poetry nonetheless attracts those who have, at one point, been labelled as other, whose uphill battles mirror Blanco's own in various ways. Taking to the stage yesterday evening (May 27) in front of a small, gorgeous Fairmount Theatre crowd, Blanco proved just how powerful she could be.
With Toronto-based Bambii serving as her resident DJ, Blanco (born Michael Quattlebaum Jr.) took to the stage — fittingly — to Beyoncé's "Formation." Wearing a fishnet bodysuit with a pair of blue Everlast shorts over top, Blanco launched into new track "Boner," from her forthcoming LP Michael, spitting fast and dancing hard. Using the entirety of the stage to her advantage, Blanco threw the mic stand over her shoulders, her wrists draped over the metal as she spun around, nearly cutting off a few heads in the process.
Moving into classic track "Haze Boogie Life," and then into her latest single "High School Never Ends," Blanco decided to dedicate the latter to "all the people who have ever been in love, who've been in an interracial relationship," and who've had a friendship unlike any other. Asking for the lighting crew to drop all the coloured lights except the blue, Blanco proceeded to throw herself about the stage, doing her best ballerina impression, arms up, toes on point during the song's Woodkid interlude.
While the recorded strings began the song's outro, Blanco decided to address the person who (presumably) inspired the heavily emotional song, stating "I was there for you when my mother told me to respect myself. I was there for you when you couldn't get healthcare. I got dreads for you!"
Replacing the usual show banter for something more poignant, Blanco decided to recite the opening passage from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, moving into the second half of her set with "O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound / That breathes upon a bank of violets / Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more," makeup dripping from her face due to sweat and her self-induced water bottle shower from a song earlier.
Climbing onto the DJ setup shortly after, she climbed up and hung from the venue's rafters. Throwing herself into a mosh pit of her own making, she then told everyone to make a circle. Blanco was creating a boxing ring of sorts, using dancing human bodies as the ropes.
Eventually launching in to fan favourites "Wavvy" and "Coke White, Starlight," Blanco ended her set by getting half the crowd onto the stage, taking her wig from her head, hanging it from her face, and yelling "you're not normal" into the faces of a few ecstatic concertgoers. It was clear that Mykki Blanco is priming herself for more than just cult stardom.