It was a packed crowd at The Theater of the Living Arts June 17, a crowd full of predominantly queer people out to support one of their own during pride month. That performer? Internet sensation Kim Petras.
Kim Petras is an up-and-coming pop singer-songwriter known for her incessant release of single after single, bop after bop and her signature “Woo-Ah!” featured in every track. She has collaborated with Charli XCX, toured with Troye Sivan and earned praise from many in and out of the industry. The 26 year-old has quickly established her identity and attracted a strong fanbase.
Petras is one of few transgender musicians with any mainstream profile and probably one of the only ones who is well known enough to pull off a headlining tour. It is fitting for her to be touring the country and selling out so many shows during pride month, an encouraging accomplishment and reminder of how far we have come.
Petras had not only sold out her date in Philadelphia, she had also upgraded the venue from the considerably smaller Foundry to the Fillmore. Fans waited through the rain outside the venue to get as close to the stage as they could manage, to which Petras noted “The dedication jumped out!”
The show was opened by DJ Mazurbate who also works as Petras’ stylist. His set was the ultimate mix of pop queens and other queer legends. He even managed to weave in and remix the “And I Oop” meme at one point of the set. The crowd was loving it singing along to almost every track he mixed in, notably screaming along to the likes of Marina and the Diamonds and Ariana Grande.
Once Petras took the stage, though, the energy went up to a whole different level. The room was hot and humid — the pipes on the ceiling literally dripping by the end of the show — but it stopped neither the crowd nor Petras from giving their all. The stage was masked in fog at points, but it gave an interesting aura to the set design: white Greecian columns — one emblazoned with “Woo-Ah” — and two LED video screens.
Petras sang her way through an 18 song set with four costume changes, backed by her producer/co-writer/hype man Aaron Joseph. She performed most of her singles and a song off her Halloween EP “Turn off the Light, Vol. 1.” Though her vocals were laced with auto-tune, it was fitting for the style of music, and the power in her vocal chords rang through. It was also impressive how they held up through her bouncing and undulating.
Her music is mostly high energy pop tracks, so she was moving throughout the duration of the show. By the end, she seemed to have tired a bit from the beginning, but she was still giving the performance her all, only slightly faltering at times in her vocals.
Petras’ performance even made me reevaluate some of her tracks I had written off previously. I found a new respect for songs like “Sweet Spot” and “Hillside Boys.”
Petras is definitely a force to watch with in pop music and is likely one to influence where it is headed. She is releasing a full-length project entitled “Clarity” June 28, which will feature three unreleased songs.