Jesus Christ, where do we start with this show.

It’s one thing to be a little fashionably late to the party, it’s another to feel the need to send out a search party.

Cupcakke / Photo by Fally Afani

After taking a wrong turn at “where the hell is Kansas,” Cupcakke finally graced Liberty Hall with her fabulous presence, delighting fans with a short but fantastic set. The problem wasn’t that Cupcakke went on more than 30 minutes late, or that she played a 35-ish-minute set. It’s that fans waited through two local DJ sets, each clocking in at an hour, prior to the delay. For context, opening bands on any regular gig usually get about 35 or 40 minutes sets. It was dismaying to hear a nearly sold-out crowd boo a DJ throughout an entire set before sitting on the floor during what was supposed to be a dance party.

But finally, she ran in (literally, ran in), shuffling across the stage in her fuzzy leg warmers, throwing her designer purse on the DJ’s table, grabbed the mic, and fired up the show in a hurried frenzy. She rewarded fans for waiting out her tardiness by diving straight into “Squidward Nose.” The crowd absolutely lost it, and all was instantly forgiven.

Cupcakke fans / Photo by Fally Afani

Cupcakke has a recognizably large LGBTQ+ fan base due to her unapologetic nature and hypersexual lyrics. Her lyrics are far more naughty and mischievous than most rappers. She can get so crass at times that she makes Cardi B sound like a nursery rhyme for schoolchildren. So naturally, the gays love her.

We’d venture to say 99 percent of that crowd was queer. There were local notable drag queens making appearances, and local PRIDE night DJ Chance Romance started the show off. The club kids were dressed to the nines, and several kids waved tiny rainbow flags throughout the night (some even stuck them into their hairdos). The most obvious sign that you were at a very gay show was the sheer volume of the audience. This crowd was louder than any metal show’s crowd that we’ve been around, and the sound was deafening. “This is a nasty ass volume!” Cupcakke proclaimed halfway through the show.

Cupcakke / Photo by Fally Afani

Cupcakke seemed to be surprised that people with good musical taste exist in the Midwest, but connected with fans quickly because she knows her queer audience. She complimented their makeup, sang into their phones, and even grabbed someone’s little rainbow flag and kept it. While most performers have a structured setlist, she had a casual rapport with her DJ that just worked, pulling up tracks on the fly according to what felt right and matched the mood. She gracefully twirled, and worked every angle of the stage (an impressive feat when normally a single performer with nothing more than a DJ and a table would have been swallowed by the stage).

Cupcakke fans / Photo by Fally Afani

She ended by leading the audience in a, uh, “moan along” (rather than singalong) for all the sexy bits of “CPR,” the crown jewel of her ungovernable set. The crowd begged her to sing “LGBT,” chanting it over and over again. But she declined and ended the set, promising to sing it “next time.” We genuinely hope there will be a next time. Cupcakke vastly underestimated this crowd, and admitted to doing so during the night. Her tardiness and compressed set would have normally set off a chain of boos, but the crowd was so drawn to her barrier-breaking style that they were thrilled with everything she threw at them. Perhaps next time, she’ll come back with a better understanding of the fire behind what it means to be queer in the Midwest.

Anyway, see you at PRIDE on June 3rd.

Photos of the night below.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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