Hayley Kiyoko played the first of two sold out Irving Plaza shows Saturday night, and I was lucky enough to be able to scope all the action live! (I also awkwardly hugged her on my way out of the venue since I was walking out behind two friends who’ve interviewed her before that hugged her first, and said “I don’t know you, but great show!” SMOOTH OPERATOR!)
For those of you who are somehow unfamiliar, Kiyoko has been dubbed “Lesbian Jesus”; in addition to being a vocal member of the LGBTQ+ community, her music videos are representation goals dot com:
It comes as no surprise, then, that a large percentage of the audience fell into the category of queer, myself included! I would venture to say I was on the older side of the all-ages crowd, a big chunk of which seemed to be under 21. Ordinarily I would have been having an existential crisis since, scientifically speaking, I am old enough to have been the parent of some of the people in attendance, but instead I just felt really amped that #KIDSTHESEDAYS have so many more visible queer icons available to them. (I also felt amped that there was virtually no line at the bar, that basically no one was tall enough to block my view, and that the show was over at the very reasonable time of 10:30pm. But that’s neither here nor there.) In all seriousness, though, I only came out as queer (which can mean different things to different people, but for me means I am an adult human who is attracted to other adult humans) as a “grown-up”, not because I wasn’t aware of my sexuality, but because (partially, I think) there just wasn’t as much visibility when I was younger. Yes, I know there WAS representation, but I don’t know that I identified with much of it, so it felt easier to just shove any non-straight tendencies into a dusty corner of my brain. Now, of course, there is A LOT of queer representation, in part because people are more open about sexuality, but also because queer people are filling in gaps which have historically been dominated by the hetero narrative.
Enter Hayley Kiyoko! Even if she was just visibly out as a pop star, that would be (for me) enough. But in addition to that, she’s penned tracks w/ unmistakably queer lyrics, and has made a concerted effort to display queer stories in her music videos. And through the magical Trojan horse that is good pop music, she’s winning over both queer and straight audiences! Lesbian Jesus indeed!
And her live show was unsurprisingly a great fucking time in a safe fucking space! Somebody threw a bra on stage!
Somebody else yelled “I CAME OUT TODAY!” which got a congrats from Kiyoko! She also danced around with a rainbow flag in case there was anybody in the room who needed a reminder that Pride month rules! And the performance itself just plain slayed! Sold out for good reason!
Tonight’s encore is ALSO sold out, but there may be tickets for sale via Craigslist or elsewhere, in which case I’d recommend snapping some up if you can. Great crowd, great tunes, great vibes! Can’t get your hands on a ticket? Homegirl’s YouTube channel is always there for you as a consolation prize! And you can grab tickets to catch her w/ Panic! At the Disco at MSG in late July. In the meantime, wishing all of you a v. good Pride!