Melanie Martinez @ Big Top Luna Park 14/8/16

First seen on AMNplify here!

On the one-year anniversary of her debut concept album Cry Baby‘s release, Melanie Martinez headlines a tour around Australia and New Zealand this month. First making a name for herself as a contestant in The Voice in 2012, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter made it through a few live rounds before being knocked out during nationwide voting. After her surprising success on the hit singing competition, Melanie spent a year working on Cry Baby, writing and recording and crowdfunding the first single’s music video. It is an album full of electropop drenched in childhood symbolism and matured by the underpinning concepts at play. The Cry Baby Tour is well at home here, performed at the Big Top in Sydney’s Luna Park and supported by Triple J Unearthed High winner of 2014, Japanese Wallpaper.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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In a startling display of unprofessionalism, producer Japanese Wallpaper is forced to play to a crowd with the house lights on for his whole set, rendering the experience horribly informal and chatter-drenched. For his part, the young producer proceeds with gusto, backed by bandmate Miles who apparently ran the City to Surf earlier that day. Crowd favourites Breathe In and Between Friends featured as part of his set, working to create atmospheric melodies amongst the crowd. Special guest, Airling finished out the set, lending her vocals for Forces.

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Japanese Wallpaper

Japanese Wallpaper | Catherine Connell Phography

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Lights down, phones up and a huge cheer as Melanie Martinez takes the stage in the form of a huge, covered set piece wheeled on by roadies revealed to be a huge bassinet. We are in store for a theatrical production. The intro music is a pastiche of feedback and arbitrary sounds interrupted by baby cries. A mobile lullaby churns out and the two band members in their adult-sized teddy bear outfits take their places behind drums and synth keys. As the intro to the title track, Cry Baby begins, Melanie bursts out of the crib and the crowd erupts in delighted screams.

Fortunately, we can hear Melanie’s vocals of the screech of teens, maybe at the expense of our own hearing… Big Top’s acoustics do nothing to improve the matter.

Greeting the crowd straight out of the first track, Melanie announces it’s Cry Baby‘s first birthday, she’s that damn happy to be [in Australia] and emphatically thanks all the support she’s received from her fans. The next song is her first song ever released and does anyone know what that is? The crowd yells “Dollhouse!” at her and this pleases her.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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Sippy Cup gets a dialed back intro with subdued synths and the crowd racing ahead of Melanie with the lyrics before the beat kicks in and it resumes its regular pace. The thumping beat for Alphabet Boy absolutely goes off, with the whole crowd bouncing in time. Milk and Cookies has some particularly impressive guitar work in the band and a beat break down before the close that’s very dance worthy.

By the time Soap comes around, the crowd should have realised she’s playing the album start to finish in the same order, as per the story the collected songs tell. Still, every song arouses a huge scream of joy. Melanie Martinez’s fans are passionate if nothing else.

She makes a big show of saying Mad Hatter is the last track of the night then spends next to no time teasing the audience waiting to come back for an encore with a cute little quip: “Is it cool if we play two more? This one is a present I put out for Christmas.” Gingerbread Man, a Christmas single from December 2015 is a much better way to hear her voice. Slower and more heartfelt and less known by the crowd.

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Melanie Martinez

Melanie Martinez | Catherine Connell Photography

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21-year-old tip-toeing around the stage in her socks, wearing pastel pink with a furry bolero, tattoos peeking out and some complex ideas coming out her mouth in the form of elaborate metaphors. She’s very good at moving around the stage and engaging both her band and the crowd in her vicinity and her voice is exactly as the package describes: soulful and whispery yet playfully suited to her lyrics and theme. At the very least, she had a ball with her fans: “I’m so excited to come back with the next record!”

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Check out Catherine Connell’s full gallery from the night here!

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Connect with Melanie Martinez!

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube

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