At her sold-out concert in St. Louis on November 3, Melanie Martinez surrounded herself with adoring, young fans — many who wore outfits as her with pink, satiny dresses and two-toned hair — in the crowd and a dance troupe on stage. For the next 100 minutes, The Pageant was transformed into a candy-coated Twilight Zone of sorts. The majority of songs performed were from Martinez’ K-12 album released earlier this year (the encore songs were the only faction of the show that wasn’t from K-12). Relying heavily on the large, backdrop video screen to add effects, elaborate and extravagant theatrics and props also used with each song — from an oversized Barbie dress to riding on a bus — added to the fascination of the night. Many of the scenes performed on stage mirrored those of her videos such as “Show & Tell” with Martinez playing the part of a marionette on a heart-shaped stage while other students (dance troupe) jeered and laughed.
To understand the K-12 tour, it’s best to know that the entire theme of the album, tour and videos are about self-empowerment and self-love — in and during the K-12 school years. Martinez questions authority and implores her fans to do the same. Brief lessons were given between several songs from a “substitute teacher” on the screen such as proper bus etiquette and finding validation within yourself. They’re great messages overall, despite a large amount of profanity used in her lyrics. Each song was its own chapter within the K-12 story told throughout the concert.
While Martinez’ style can be described as pop with a breezy, innocent voice and easily-understood lyrics there is a dark undercurrent that keeps her songs from being bubblegum pop. In fact, Rolling Stone described her music as “twisted lullabies about love, danger and madness” in this 2015 piece about artists to know.
Anyone who has a shaker that looks like a mushroom out of Alice in Wonderland is tops in our book. Lauren Ruth Ward opened the night on the eve of her 31st birthday and at one point the audience broke out and sang her “Happy Birthday” including many shouts of “you’re beautiful.”
Ward brought her all to the crowded room with her raw, unapologetic, bluesy, roots rock-pop sound. She told the crowd “I could do this all night.”
With her songs such as “Blue Collar Sex Kitten,” “Pull Strings,” and “Did I Offend You?,” Ward is one to keep your eyes on.
Find all the exclusive photos from Arch City Media of the night: http://bit.ly/MMartinez19cz
Check out what’s coming next to The Pageant: https://www.thepageant.com/calendars/