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Read: Yas Queen is funny, charming, and a bit naughty

It takes some pluck to stand in front of a live audience and sing some of the big hits of musical giants such as Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Elvis, and Freddie Mercury. These talents had huge voices and stamped an almost indelible ‘ownership’ to the songs.  To live up to that legacy, you had better have some talent.

In Yas Queen, Jason Chasland, aka Leather Lungs, proved he had both the ambition and the ability to do just that. 

His powerful voice ranged from bass to soprano in a moment and he managed to evoke the essence of black divas without mocking or diminishing their heritage. 

Chasland wove aspects of his personal journey and challenges in to Yas Queen, and some of them were incredibly painful. It is no surprise that the songs he chose and the artists who originated them, had special meaning for him – those singers also suffered deep pain, and their creativity provided the soundtrack of his life, and the balm for his suffering. It is something that all of us can relate to. 

The power of this show is not just Chasland’s voice but also rooted in how genuine he is. There is no pretence or false evocation of personality. His ability to expose his inner demons and his disarming charm mean that the brutal honesty about his troubles bonds him to the audience. The songs and the various personalities he channeled when performing them means you just cant help liking him.

It helps that he’s also funny – my favourite moment was a song I think was called The Dentist and it had me in stitches. It was camp, risqué and involved a simulated sex act on a leather chair while he sang about a tooth extraction. Just superb!

Leather Lungs: Yas Queen

4-8 February 2020

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