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The flamboyant Mykki Blanco entertains a packed Birthdays

30 January 2013, 09:30 | Written by George O'Brien

There was an air of fascinated intrigue waiting outside Birthdays last night for Michael Quattlebaum’s cross-dressing creation, Mykki Blanco. The New York poet/writer sold out the East London music hub, completely packing the small basement with a fabulous mix-match of genuine fans, many of whom took to imitating Blanco’s distinctive style, and inquisitive new-music followers.

Ms Blanco is a character, a charismatic entertainer with an in your face, “I don’t care what you think” attitude and excessive levels of sweat-inducing energy. Her performance feels more like a piece of cabaret theatre than a hip-hop show, as she throws herself around the stage with extraordinary agility, is quickly dressed in nothing more than a bra and wig and attempts to sing with the entire microphone stuffed in her mouth. Indeed, the music does appear to play second fiddle to the dramatic statement, as lyrics are used to explain artistic decisons; “I don’t know who the fuck I am” rings out early in the set, before she works her way through the ‘Cosmic Angel: The Illuminati Prince/ss’ mixtape.

Moments of pacey rhythm and rhyme, shudderingly powerful bass drops and an interesting use of vocal shreaks and barks, with slight feelings of Niki Minaj, provide the musical merit of the set, but it is difficult to come away thinking about anything other than the utter flamboyance of Mykki Blanco. At this stage the show is one you can’t take your eyes off, rather than your ears.

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