Trixie Mattel brings big hair, big laughs to SF’s Regency Ballroom

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Ever since she won over fans’ hearts with a rendition of RuPaul’s “Kitty Girl” on “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” season three, Trixie Mattel has been on everyone’s radar. From her show “UNHhhh” with fellow drag queen Katya to her “Grown Up” tour promoting her newly released record, Barbara, Mattel has been churning out quality media for the world to gobble up. 

Before she came onstage, Mattel screened a video of her and Katya roleplaying as a medical patient and a doctor. Mattel, who is 30 years old, poked fun at her age and joked about being “grown up,” as per the title of her tour. Crowd members roared with laughter from their seats; the appearance of Katya, whom Mattel has great chemistry with, was much appreciated.

Mattel greeted the crowd by exclaiming, “We’re sold out tonight, you hookers from hell!” She came out in a glittering dress and, holding a clear umbrella, launched into her 1960s surf song “We Got the Look” to commemorate her extravagant outfit.

She serenaded the crowd with a song about her show and what everyone should expect, having the crowd sing along with her, “No, no, no, no, no, it’s not that great a show.” Fortunately, she proved the song wrong.

Mattel addressed the San Francisco crowd, saying, “I know you hate it when we call it ‘Frisco,’ so I’ll just call it a drug-ridden tent city.” Afterward, she clarified that the jab was only a joke and that she enjoys visiting the city. She gave a few words about her new record, which were met with loud cheers. “You guys, stop,” Mattel said coyly. “You’re acting like I have the No. 13 album in the country.”

She immediately jumped back into song, performing key tracks from Barbara such as “Girl Next Door,” “Gold” and “Malibu.” Mattel also took the time to give a well-received comedic spiel between each, touching upon diverse topics like marriage, sex, college reunions and, of course, growing up. During her performance of “Yellow Cloud,” a single she released in 2019, Mattel revealed, “I wrote this song, ‘Yellow Cloud,’ last year. What I didn’t know was ‘yellow cloud’ is Craigslist slang for having sex on crystal meth.”

The crowd was the most blown away when Mattel introduced her song “Jesse Jesse,” written about her love for actor Jesse Eisenberg. The song was prefaced by a video of Eisenberg congratulating Mattel on her album and expressing honor that she loves him, “because nobody else does,” according to Eisenberg. The song was beautifully paired with a video montage of Eisenberg playing in the background.

Throughout the show, Mattel went through a whopping 12 costume changes, complemented by three wig changes. Four of these costume changes happened during “Malibu,” including a sequined, tasseled blue number and a shiny pink bathing suit with sunglasses. At one point, she even had two audience members help her with a costume reveal. During “Jesse Jesse,” Mattel quipped, “I know you’re wondering, ‘Why is she dressed like a hip-hop bumblebee?’ I’ll tell you later.” She never did, however.

Mattel ended her show with an acoustic cover of “Vacation” by the Go-Go’s, with the crowd singing along. She left for a brief outfit change and returned with the song “Mama Don’t Make Me Put on the Dress Again,” off of her album Two Birds, as her encore.

Mattel’s performance was an excellent mix between a comedy show and a peek into Barbara. Fans were clearly pleased that they were able to spend more than an hour laughing with one another while basking in Mattel’s serious musical talent. And while her jokes may have bordered on insensitive, she was applauded for pulling off each joke with a smooth delivery and the ability to own her words. Mattel was constantly engaging with audience members and feeding off of their energy, which made for not only a hilarious show, but also a touching one.

Pooja Bale covers music. Contact her at [email protected].