Live: MELANIE MARTINEZ // O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Original and absolutely breathtaking, the Malanie Martinez live show is a glimpse into the pastel dreamland of K-12.
Taking us on a journey to her sparkling pop wonderland, Melanie Martinez filled the O2 Sheperd’s Bush Empire with soaring melodies and sugar-coated visuals. With her second studio album (Top 10 UK/Top 5 US) and accompanying feature length film K-12, released earlier this year, the show was a stunning portrayal of her creative direction and unique vision. Grabbing the attention of the crowd with surrealistic, eerie aesthetics, Melanie completely re-imagined the concept of a live music performance, turning it into a one-of-a-kind experience.
With a Tim Burton-esque quality and pastel colour palette, we were treated to the 13-track K-12 album in full. Presenting every song in its own peculiar stage arrangement, the show was a combination of vibrant dance choreography coupled with visual arts galore.
Just like in the film, the set saw Melanie take on the role of Cry Baby, a semi-fictional version of herself, accompanied by her class mates who set out on a mission to take down an oppressive schooling system. Tackling the themes of discrimination, mental health, friendship, love, and social status, every chapter of the performance grasped with an unparalleled energy and unapologetic attitude. Reflecting on the various stages of life, the world she inhabits uncovers a land of many wonders, with twists and turns lurking on every corner.
With tension hanging in the air throughout the set, Show & Tell presented a puppet-like scenario, finding Melanie tied up in a heart-shaped prison box. Following with Nurse’s Office and Drama Club, the stage setup was changing according to the subject of the songs, dazzling with splendour and colour. Although, the intervals in between the tracks seemed a tad too long at times, the wait was totally worth it.
Charming the audience with her dulcet vocals and glistening soundscapes, Strawberry Shortcake saw Melanie sat on top of a giant cake. Surrounded by a group of dancers, it surely added to the dynamic of the show. Detention floated with an R&B-infused beat and shimmering electronics, whilst High School Sweethearts brought in swaying rhythms and Melanie’s unabashed character as lyrics “And damn it, if you fuck me over / I will rip your fucking face apart” echoed throughout the room.
Blurring the lines between the fields of art, incorporating everything from music, film, to dance and visuals, the effort Melanie Martinez and her team put into the shows has proved them to be in a league of their own.
Photos: Kasia Osowiecka