Live Review: Melanie Martinez in Indy Mar31

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Live Review: Melanie Martinez in Indy

If you were in Indianapolis recently, you likely saw a line of teenagers dressed in pastel colors wrapping nearly around Old National Center. Fans staked out their spots under skies that threatened rain early in the morning for the sold out Melanie Martinez concert. After being featured on Adam Levine’s team on The Voice, Martinez began her second national tour, the Crybaby Tour, and made her Indianapolis debut on March 12th. Her long-anticipated performance left no one in the jam-packed Egyptian room disappointed.

UK natives Alvarez Kings started the show off by pumping up an already psyched crowd—the fans even surged forward to get a glimpse of these openers. Their wonderfully executed sound is a kind of earthy indie pop, which served as a great compliment to Martinez’s electronic sound.

The stage was then set with a plethora of baby-themed props, including a giant mobile, crib, and “CRY BABY” blocks. After possibly the world’s longest intro, the electropop starlet took the stage by bursting out of the aforementioned giant crib. She immediately engaged the crowd with her title track “Cry Baby,” and needed no backup vocals—the audience knew every word of every song.

As expected, Martinez’s vocals were exquisite. Her sound is profoundly distinctive in that it’s just about as high as anyone can go without sounding annoying. Perfectly coupled with her sweet melodies, you have to listen very closely to pick up on her searing social commentary.

Melanie is in a very unique place as an artist: she’s outstandingly talented, but relatively quite inexperienced, and has paved her way with a very themed album. Nearly all of her set list came from Cry Baby, and with such a theatrical stage set and intro, it seemed as though her performance itself could have used a bit more of a thespian flair, whether it be a little more choreography, a more distinctive wardrobe, differently placed addresses to the crowd, etc.

One questionable element of her set was the actual setlist. Granted, she was working with only one album and an EP, but the set was essentially Cry Baby in the exact order as it appears on the album. The album may have very well been arranged according to the order she planned to perform them live, but it raised a few eyebrows in the crowd.

Regardless of that nitpicking, Mel Mar’s fans were enamored with her performance. Unfortunately, the crowd itself caused some problems for the show. After the mob surged forward multiple times, the pit was nearly too cramped to move, which caused at least one fan to pass out. With the tight packing, however, it took security much longer than usual to fish the poor girl out. There were also a few fights within the crowd, and although Melanie encouraged everyone to protect each other and “be nice,” her comment was too little, too late.

These technicalities, however, are to be expected from a young artist and a young crowd. Although they were perhaps still hopped up on concert adrenaline, a few girls I overheard described the show as a “religious experience.” Indy will be looking forward immensely to the next time Mel Mar comes back, and anticipate that it will be in a larger venue.

-Kelly Fox

Click here for exclusive photos from the show