Glasgow’s LGBTQ+ scene may be smaller than its counterparts in London or Manchester, but it is playing host to the development of a uniquely creative, D.I.Y based kind of drag scene. Launched by few but now celebrated by many, the two main weekly shows that thrive in the city have been enjoying their first birthdays in recent months. The cabaret styling of Katie’s Bar’s Mothertucker turned one last year, and as we continue to adjust to 2017, Delmonica’s Suck also comes of age.
Lacy Rain, Ru Jazzle and October Fist present Suck every Wednesday and also host Mothertucker Tuesdays with assistance from Perry Cyazine and CJ Banks. This small group with backgrounds in theatre, art history and ancient civilisations may seem to offer the more avant-garde, but they have been building and developing Glasgow’s accessible, exciting drag scene for several years.
I went to the first anniversary show of Suck last week and was nothing but impressed. Delmonicas offers a different vibe to that of Katie’s around the corner – it’s louder, busier, and packed with obvious drag virgins. Unlike Mothertucker there are no themes, so you probably won’t find so much of the bizarre costumery and elaborate story based mixes of that environment here. However, you will find a party style feel good atmosphere, audience participation, lively, energetic hosts, stunning looks and performers from the UK and even further afield. In only one year of Suck, the queens have managed to develop a system that works and is admired by other performers and regular crowd members alike.
“I think it’s a much more accessible show for people that maybe don’t know drag that well or have never been to a drag show before,” says Lacy Rain. “If they come to Suck they’ll see people lip syncing straight songs, doing things that are very easy to understand – whereas Mothertucker is a lot more cabaret.”
The most obvious format change from Mothertucker is the choice to feature guests from outside of the Glasgow scene. This week’s guests are Roxy Tumbledryer and Rusty Hinges, two Irish queens with endless energy. Suck have featured queens from as far away as the U.S before – so what brings them all to Delmonicas on a Wednesday night?
Lacy continues: “I think in the last year or so we have built a real identity for our drag and built a good foundation for people that are starting drag. We have opportunities for new performers and I think it’s given more social media presence which has enabled queens from around the UK to see what we’re doing and so that when we do contact them for these gigs they are excited to come and see what we’re about,”
Witnessing the talent of Suck’s performers yourself is proof enough that queens from around the world would be drawn towards this. Throughout the night we are treated to a passionate, high energy piece by October Fist, a strange futuristic amalgamation of creature and woman poking fun at Pokémon ASMR (yes, that actually is the simplest I could phrase that) from Lacy Rain, an asthma mix featuring Beyonce’s Lose Your Breath and Jordin Sparks’ No Air by a body painted Perry Cyazine and an inspirational new year inspired set by RuJazzle about saying yes. Not only do the queens have a penchant for intriguing and unique mixes that you don’t find anywhere else, they each offer specific looks that make them instantly recognisable.
In November, the Suck girls put on a one off night, Clash of Clans, in which every drag house in Scotland performed under one roof. There was no debating that this was something special and a visual representation of the talent that nights like Suck have helped to thrive in the nation.
“It was very touching actually,” says Lacy, “Everyone’s got their own stuff they’re doing now. Then there’s new queens that have come – like Carrie Ann (Crow), she started Trigger – and loads of people from all over that we now don’t get to see as much so like every show and every queen that’s currently working and producing performance at one show was incredible. There’s always drama in the drag community because I think that’s one of the cardinal rules of it, so it was nice to have a night where no one cared about that. The drama is always just petty. When you’re doing shows together you get over it. It was so nice to have everyone that was making an impact together, and hang out, like eat rainbow cake and all that!”
It’s hard to predict what’s next for Glasgow’s drag due to its youth, but looking at a night like Suck’s ever increasing popularity and the drive for constant improvement from its owners, it looks set to continue developing further and further.
“I think the Glasgow drag scene is still growing, if you look at other cities they have multiple drag queens, multiple drag shows, and queens on every single night,” Lacy reflects, “I think Glasgow as a gay scene will actually have to grow before that works for drag. I think what we’re doing now is building a demand for drag and if we can hopefully keep building that demand it could be in a years’ time we double the amount of shows.”
Despite her apparent reluctance to come across as anything besides modest, Lacy has every reason to blow her own trumpet after her astonishing success in 2016. Co-founding two incredible weekly drag shows, releasing an EP and being shortlisted for UK Drag Queen of the Year is no mean feat. I asked her how it felt to be nominated for such a notable award.
“It was so lovely actually, I’ve never really been majorly successful on like social media, that type of thing. I’ve never been shouted out by anything like this before. I don’t know I produce work for myself and I enjoy doing it, but it was really lovely to get that sort of validation I guess. Sometimes you think oh my god I’m doing this for five drunk people in a bar, but it was actually lovely. I did work very hard this year, and it was really lovely.”
You can find out more about Suck here. The new Suck Harder event will take place on the first Wednesday of every month. Lacy Rain’s debut EP Black Eyes can be found here. All photos taken from Delmonica’s Facebook Page.