Latrice Royale

Review: Trixie Mattel Slays Minneapolis with Live Singing & Stand-Up Comedy

RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3 winner and “Skinny Legend” Trixie Mattel served an energetic mix of guitar strums and punch lines.

Photo: Melissa Miller / Pabst Theater Group

Photo: Melissa Miller / Pabst Theater Group

Photo: David Wala/REX/Shutterstock

Photo: David Wala/REX/Shutterstock

Most Murray & Peter Present drag tours are ensemble cast affairs, with the hottest queens from various seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race united on stage by a common theme. Every once in a while, however, a very special drag queen earns a solo trek across North America. 

2016 saw Drag Race star Latrice Royale doing a limited engagement run of Here's to Life,  an intimate, cabaret-style retelling of her life story. Now, Trixie Mattel is on the road with Now With Moving Parts, an ambitious, nationwide solo tour in support of her new album One Stone. Fresh off winning RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 3, Trixie commanded the crowd like a star who's no longer "on the rise," but instead a fully cemented LGBT icon. 

The night began with Trixie's music producer Brandon James Gwinn as opening act. Gwinn led the largely gay audience in fun sing-along numbers on piano. These included "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus, "Barbie Girl" by Aqua and "Part of Your World" from Disney's The Little Mermaid. The crowd was living for it, loudly and enthusiastically singing along. Gwinn would sprinkle in smart humor, which was a great primer for a full night of music-meets-comedy. By the time Gwinn launched into an original song, "Your Face," the loosened-up crowd busted out laughing. An ideal reaction to the material, as the song deftly mixed familiar pop sounds with comedic lyrics. 

Trixie Mattel opened her set with "Mama Don't Make Me Put on the Dress Again," her 2017 debut single. Effortlessly singing and playing instruments in tandem, her skilled musicianship impressed. Even though she performs country-folk music in full Barbie-esque drag and stiletto heels, Trixie's passion for the genre does not feel like tokenism or a gimmick. It was clear from the get go that she respects the genre.

Comedy is what Trixie Mattel is best known for, from being an audience favorite "comedy queen" on RuPaul's Drag Race to hosting The Trixie and Katya Show on Viceland. Immediately after her opening number, Trixie put down the pink guitar and launched into a jaw-dropping stand-up routine. References to RuPaul and Drag Race were toned down in favor of crowd interactions - and more unexpected subject matter, like school shootings and dating apps. 

Mattel later sang a handful more songs while strumming on custom guitars made by the likes of Fender. These included folk tracks from her new album One Stone, like the hit "Moving Parts" and her current single, "Break Your Heart." There were also some brilliant covers. An acoustic mashup of Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi" and "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac joined the millennial and baby boomer generations in the audience together for a sing-a-long. Trixie's mashup of "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World and elements of Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" felt a bit less fluid, but still got the crowd's motor runnin'. 

Brandon James Gwinn came back to the stage from time to time, providing backup vocals and instrumentation. He even popped up as Jesus Christ... and asked Trixie for a selfie. Oh lord! 

References to stan Twitter were frequent, from the announcer dubbing Trixie a "skinny legend" to Trixie performing an entire number themed around the popular God Warrior meme. 

Trixie Mattel sang 100% live - and sounded great. Though they're known for lip-syncing, drag queens singing live isn't as uncommon as it would seem. RuPaul, Latrice RoyaleWillam, Sharon Needles, Alaska Thunderfuck, the late Divine and countless other drag stars have been known to sing live. 

The Minneapolis stop of Trixie Mattel's Now With Moving Parts tour deftly balanced its comedy and folk music elements. Folk can come across as old-timey and serious, so the fact that a comedic entertainer has successfully popularized it in 2018 is remarkable. The shock and awe factor of her stand up comedy worked because she had the confidence to land the riskiest of punchlines. It didn't hurt that her audience was clearly there to support their favorite queen.

Highly Recommended.

For more tea, read my exclusive interview with Trixie Mattel. 

Want to see Trixie Mattel on her Now With Moving Parts tour? Buy tickets now.


Review: Latrice Royale "Here's To Life" Minneapolis Show

Latrice Royale returns to the Twin Cities to deliver an intimate, cabaret-style retelling of her life story.

A little background on Latrice Royale and her history with Minneapolis. I have seen dozens of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens live, but no other queen gets the audience reactions Latrice Royale does. Latrice was here in Minneapolis at the iconic First Avenue nightclub for Grown & Sexy Pride last June. Latrice told me she believes that was her first Minneapolis appearance.

My mom, my husband, a couple of my best friends and I were all at that show, and the crowd was insane. Granted, it was the historic day that gay marriage was legalized throughout the entire United States, so the audience came ready to party. No shade, but it was a very standard drag show. Club setting. Standing room only. Lipsyncing, dancing, and fabulous makeup, hair, and costumes. However, Latrice Royale is anything but basic, and delivered energetic, crowd-pleasing numbers.

Last night’s show drew the same huge crowd responses, but was in a vastly different setting, The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts. Polished. Classy. Uniformed ushers showing you to your seats. Definitely not a nightclub!

The crowd felt like a veritable who’s-who of the Twin Cities gay community, with several guests recognizing and catching up with each other. It’s amazing how a universal love of the drag art form and RuPaul’s Drag Race connects our community.

The show started on time with no-frills entrance by Latrice Royale, who simply sauntered on the stage to shattering applause. The gays love her. The stage setting was simple; chairs for Latrice, and a few-piece band with piano accompaniment by her man Christopher, “the love of [her] life.”

A very emotional show. You could hear and see audience members moved to tears several times. I don’t want to spoil the details of specific, devastating stories from her life. You really need to come in to it as fresh as possible. Latrice said that the show is meant to take you on an emotional journey, and each person will need it for a different reason. She was right.

By the same token, it was a hilarious show and Latrice didn't have to try hard whatsoever to get laughs. Huge crowd reactions came naturally. Everyone was there for a good time.

Great music! I was delighted by her fully live vocal performance. Her vocal range isn't Aguilerian but her voice is better than almost all the RDPR queens out there. So deep and soulful. She called herself Barry White in a dress. Never sounded like she was limiting herself or struggling. Well trained. Left me very excited to buy her debut CD Here’s to Life when it comes out next week.

The show was admittedly light on songs and heavy on storytelling. However, that’s not a read. It was a great decision, one which made each song more special and the lyrics more meaningful. You could tell the music was curated with a perfectionist’s hand, with songs chosen to start at the exact right moments.

Latrice’s costume changes happened on stage. She wore a multilayered outfit, each layer sparklier than the previous. She mostly switched out which decadent shawl she was wearing. The one costume change that required her to stop talking to the audience to complete probably would have worked better off stage. That would have given the band time to show off a little more of their talents.

The show was a great length. I did not time it, but it felt just right, leaving you feeling satisfied but hopeful she'll tell more of her life story in the future. It would certainly make a fantastic film or memoir.

At any show I go to I always listen to the crowd as I walk out, and there's always at least one or two negative comments. None for this show. Everyone was on the same page. The show truly was a revelation.

After the show, there was a meet and greet for guests with premium tickets in the lobby. It was my first time meeting Latrice. Of the several Ru girls I’ve met, none have been as genuinely sweet and kind as miss Royale. She was very kind and loving toward my mother, who is a massive Latrice fan. Mom had a great night and couldn't stop saying as much, which really warmed my heart on a chilly March night.

You simply don’t know Latrice until you see this show. Catch it in your city soon:

Chicago, tonight:

New York, next week:

Who's your favorite drag queen? Let me know on social media.

I'm @DerekPlease on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

Minneapolis: See Latrice Royale + Meet Me!

Hey, everybody! One of my top 5 favorite drag queens ever, Latrice Royale of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame, is returning to Minnesota… and performing brand new songs from her debut album! This special preview show is a can’t miss event, whether you’re a Drag Race fan or not. Why? Latrice is chunky yet funky, and her live shows are transcendent. She really brings it with all she has, unlike any other performer. 

As a special incentive, I’ll be meeting with fans of my blog in the lobby before the show. Simply email me at if you plan on attending. We’ll take a pic and kiki (that’s queer speak for “hang out”).

Buy tickets by clicking or tapping here!

Hope to see you there. You'll love it! Look for my review after the show.

Not in Minnesota? No worries. Catch the show in these other cities:

Royal Oak, Michigan: March 10 @ Baldwin Theatre

Chicago, Illinois: March 12 @ Park West

New York, New York: March 17-19 @ The Laurie Beechman Theatre