Dress for the job you want! Sir Babygirl, the New Hampshire pop singer/producer, wears a jellyfish of yellow tulle, pastel bloomers and a couple tubes of facepaint streaked into the shape of flower over her eye, with a stem that leads down her face to her Smurfed-out lips.
The job Sir Babygirl wants is Sir Babygirl.
The singer’s alter ego, Kelsie Hogue, constructed a madcap show — Vanessa Carlton samples; Sparkle Motion-esque backup dancers — to match her loofah fashion late Friday at Palm Door on Sabine, part of Father/Daughter Records’ South by Southwest showcase.
“I’m gonna see how long I can last in this,” Hogue said of her fabric captor. “Maybe a lifetime.”
Sir Babygirl makes pop that’s sharp (“I'll lend you this, I'll lend you that/Just promise that you'll never give it back” on “Flirting With Her”) and weird (the follow-up to the line “You don't know me anymore” in the song “Heels” is screaming “I changed my hair!” multiple times) and wry (“I smoke too much for a non-smoker” on “Pink Lite”).
Hogue sings with an off-kilter power, wielding a purple guitar that she attacks with gusto. Her eyes pop madly. She spits out stage banter like a Kate Berlant character. Those dancers, who moved manically with unbroken grins like they were stuck in a neon purgatory designed to exactly replicate an eternal “Star Search” audition, flung each other across the stage and into the crowd.
There was a stripped-down, fuzzed-out cover of Kesha’s “Praying”; never has an aesthetic made more sense. Hogue’s parents came to the show, wearing Sir Babygirl T-shirts, to behold their good handiwork.
“You know I was a musical theater kid,” Hogue said. “I can’t hide it.”
The music’s queer, the show was queer and everything Hogue put out into that little SXSW universe was gloriously queer. Early in the show, she spliced in a clip of Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” edited to replace “and I liked it” with “and I’m gay.” Her audience, she said with confidence, was made up of “gays and straights with presumable taste.”
“Where my straights at?” Hogue asked after surveying the queer population at Palm Door. Many cheers. “OK, not for long, bitch.”
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Sir Babygirl is based in Seattle. She is based in Hanover, New Hampshire.