With a name like Hags’ Roadhouse, you know you’re in for a rowdy and raunchy show. Such was the case last Saturday night at the White Rabbit Cabaret in Fountain Square, where a cavalcade of performers from Indy’s own Rocket Doll Revue burlesque troupe took the stage. Backed with live music from Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish straight from Grand Rapids, Michigan, the show was old-school roadhouse burlesque; real rock ‘n’ roll.
The show’s namesake Gurl Haggard served as hostess for the night, drawing in all burlesque newbies with a wink and a smile. She also performed several numbers, her cheeky style knee-deep in the dirty and gritty, setting the bar for a Hags’ Roadhouse that would make Patrick Swayze proud.
And the performances were spot-on for the entire evening, each performer bringing their own unique character to their performances. The confident, alluring swagger of Patsy Blue Ribbon turned heads in her sultry numbers, with an attitude that demanded attention. The playful strutting of Trini Bikini proved a match for host Gurl Haggard, the two of them taking part in a good old-fashioned “tassel-off” during the intermission.
White Rabbit owner Alabaster Betty – – declared “boss bitch” – -by host Gurl Haggard in her introduction – showed grace, flawless choreograph, and a gymnastic physicality. Vagina Woolf played the statuesque Vegas girl (touted as the tallest in the Rocket Doll Revue troupe) with her glittery performance. The coquettish Lula Lawless was a good girl flip side of the other bad girl performances. Senorita Pussy channeled Rita Hayworth with a Gilda-like trashiness straight out of Hollywood. Vivacious Miss Audacious’ act demonstrated her mastery with the hula hoops, melding showmanship and seduction, crackling with unstoppable electricity.
The backing band themselves set the tone for the night, creating a consistent dirty blues atmosphere. It may have been a surprise for some unfamiliar with the band, this writer included, who may have suspected a group peopled by several members, with a band name like theirs.
Instead was a duo: Jesse Ray on guitar/harmonica coupled with Dingo Hopp on drums in a venerable powerhouse performance, creating dirty and raucous Southern blues out of seemingly nothing at all. The band’s interplay between the Rocket Doll Revue performers and their emcee skills that helped keep the night flowing was the MVP of the night.
The Rocket Doll Revue is always out for one thing in any of their shows: entertainment. That includes entertaining the audience for night after sold out night, as well as for themselves who cheer their fellow performers on from the sidelines.
Indy’s own burlesque performers always put on a show worth seeing, but given a backing band, such as with their “Nocturne” live blues shows, the experience is turned to 11. Such was the case with Hags’ Roadhouse where burlesque creativity is injected with a thousand volts of raucous blues rock ‘n’ roll.