Local singer Keith Power smashed gender norms again this past week with “Shaguya Twain,” a tribute to the Canadian country music icon.
A follow-up to Power’s wildly successful “Mandonna” and “Lady GuyGuy” shows, Power emulates each showcased musician through song and dance, dressed in full regalia and heels higher than I would ever dare to wear.
Arriving at The Rockhouse on July 7, the crowd was not at all what I had anticipated, drawing out an older demographic than expected. This could be due to Power’s choice to become Shania Twain, who dominated airwaves throughout the 1990s, but could also be attributed to the following that Power, accompanied by fellow Spirit of Newfoundland performers Janet Cull and Natalie Noseworthy, have amassed through years of impressive dinner theatre shows at the Masonic Temple.
The Rockhouse crowd became a unified audience, belting out familiar lyrics with Power, with Noseworthy and Cull providing backup vocals, in front of a full band, which featured Paddy Byrne on bass, Elliot Dicks on drums, Steve Finn and Ryan Sheaves on guitar, Valerie Hewson on fiddle and guitar, and Erin Winsor performing a vocal solo.
The popularity of the sold-out show could have also been influenced by the growing popularity of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a competitive reality television series that pits contestants against each other for the title of “America’s Next Drag Superstar.”
Noseworthy also noted the diversity of the crowd, noting that the show appeals to country music fans, the LBGTQ+ community, Drag Race fans, and Spirit of Newfoundland enthusiasts.
In the summer heat, the Rockhouse crowd became a unified audience, belting out familiar lyrics with Power, with Noseworthy and Cull providing backup vocals, in front of a full band, which featured Paddy Byrne on bass, Elliot Dicks on drums, Steve Finn and Ryan Sheaves on guitar, Valerie Hewson on fiddle and guitar, and Erin Winsor performing a vocal solo.
The group performed a short but powerful set, with mega hits like “From This Moment On,” “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” “Man, I Feel Like A Woman,” “Still The One,” “Honey, I’m Home,” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and more, invoking flashbacks to my childhood, watching endless Canadiana on Much More Music.
In a stellar wardrobe curated by talented local designer Bruno Vinhas, and with makeup by incredible Jason Wells, a.k.a. local drag queen Irma Gerd, Power was contoured to the point that he was nearly unrecognizable, absolutely slaying his Shaguya look.
Throughout his performance, Power caused me physical pain throughout the show — I was standing slack-jawed as Power danced with his “sexy boys” — my cheeks later hurting from smiling and laughing, as he repeatedly told the crowd that he was “sweatin’ like a motherf**ker,” in his lavish costumes and large wig, playin’ up the diva persona.
Artistically channelling the best-selling female artist in country music history, Power showed the predominantly female-identifying audience that, as Twain says herself, “The best thing about being a woman, is the prerogative to have a little fun.”
Much fun was had at The Rockhouse on Saturday, and I can’t wait to see what female pop-star Keith Power decides to become next. Sashay, shantay, Shaguya Twain!