Dorian Electra pushes pop music to captivating extremes

Saturday, February 22, Union South Sett, 9 p.m., free.

Saturday, February 22, Union South Sett, 9 p.m., free. Info

Photo by Charlotte Rutherford.

Listening to Dorian Electra’s 2019 debut album Flamboyant feels a bit like watching an amusement park carousel. Each track presents a hyperbolically colorful new portrait of masculinity, from the corporate masochist of “Career Boy” to the braggadocious self-proclaimed virtuoso of “Musical Genius.” The characters Electra embodies swirl by slowly to create a whole that’s somehow even campier and more captivating than the sum of its parts. With their sweeping vocal range, clever lyricism, and relentlessly catchy production, Electra’s pushes the performativity inherent in pop music to an extreme, leaving no room for any trace of sentimentality. That’s not to say Electra shies away from earnestness—each of their characters bursts with a sense of desire, confidence, or, well, flamboyance whose sincerity is hard to deny.


Sure they can talk the talk, but Electra’s shows prove that they can just as skillfully walk the walk. Electra takes the stage wearing their signature eyeliner-drawn mustache, typically flanked by two muscular backup dancers clad in body harnesses, delivering performances marked by a distinctive blend of eroticism and humor. The secret is in their airtight choreography. It’s intense, precise and high-energy, and perfectly conveys the physicality of each of the personae Electra inhabits in their work. 

Sure, the live show is not quite as flashy a performance as their music may demand or deserve (save that for their music videos, each of which seems more meticulously crafted than the last), but it’s a pleasure to watch on all levels nonetheless. Alongside opener Alice Longyu Gao’s abrasively catchy e-girl bops and aesthetics, and Madison’s own DJ Boyfrrriend, Electra’s February 22 show at the Sett is sure to have something for all the girls, gays, and theys to enjoy.

An ode to the best and worst of Madison summers.

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