Every generation has their gay icon: the 70’s had Diana Ross, the 90’s had Madonna, and the early 2000’s had the greats like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. But Hayley Kiyoko is a gay icon of a different breed. Lovingly referred to as Lesbian Jesus, Ms. Kiyoko not only represents the gay youth of today, but provides something special to an audience that is often looked over. In fact the representation that Hayley brings to the scene goes beyond what any other previous artist has done. The songs do not rely on hazy metaphors or genderless references to a lover, but go deep into the issues that many lesbian and bisexual young girls deal with. From sleepovers with your curious straight friend to the unrequited love of a bestie, Hayley has you covered.
It was no surprise that Hayley called upon glam queen Allie X to open up her show, whose own performance is extremely reminiscent of Queen Gaga’s herself. Allie X, also known as Alexandra Ashley Hughes, is a Toronto born synth pop act who has been performing since 2006. Now that she is based in LA Allie X is known for an LGBT following herself, and often talks about considering her fans experiences when she writes her songs.
With Allie X the drama starts from the moment she graces the stage. Appearing as a floating enigma, she came out dressed in a billowing pink coat and a playfully embroidered veil. But just as it is with Lady Gaga, Allie X quickly showed she wasn’t just relying on a gimmick. With powerful vocals and dance heavy beats her music quickly turned the show into a party.
As she performed she stripped down her layers, eventually leaving her curly blonde wig hanging from the mic stand. This act of stripping down is the perfect metaphor for her music, because when you strip away the costumes and the characters… you are left with a really raw and true artistic experience.
Finally it was time for Lesbian Jesus to take the stage. As her band walked on stage the stage was filled with projections from her music videos, leaving the sold out room screaming in anticipation. Not only was Hayley’s audience primarily female, but the average age was rather young as well. This is not a testament to her music, but more-so a result of her beginning. If you haven’t heard of Hayley Kiyoko, you may have seen her before on the Disney Channel. Hayley not only got her start in the famous Disney Channel Original Movie Lemonade Mouth, but was featured as Velma in the latest live action Scooby Doo movie. The large number of gay and lesbian youth who showed up waving 20-Gay-Teen flags were able to feel free and comfortable in a space that was meant for them. Within the first song they showed their love with rainbow roses, stuffed animals, and of course… the typical sequined bra thrown on stage.
As she performed on stage Hayley revealed that she is just as approachable as her music, often making jokes and taking moments to be “cheesy” with the crowd. At one point she opened up about how she hasn’t always been able to be out and proud, telling the story of how her hit This Side of Paradise was written while she felt truly shameful for who she was. Hayley expressed to the crowd how she hopes her music makes it so fans never have to feel that way. They returned the love by giving her a sea of cell phone flashlights, an act that not only brought her to tears but helped confirm for her that she was exactly where she needs to be.
While Hayley’s vocal performance isn’t always a solid ten, she makes up for it in showmanship. Not only did her show include many skilled dance breaks and moments of fan-service, she also ended the show with a few numbers on an electric drum kit. One of those songs included a live version of Marian Hill‘s remix of Curious, a band who just recently came through the same venue.
One thing that stood above the music was her constant affirmations and support that she funneled out to her fans. Despite being the gay icon of her generation, Hayley has gone through her own fair share of heartbreak and feeling unwanted. There is a certain loneliness as she talks on stage that you can tell the crowd resonates with. But until the starlet finds love, she definitely has a faithful and adoring following there to support her.
Check out our full gallery of photos from the show below: