Review: Melanie Martinez at Portsmouth Guildhall




The most magical performance I have ever seen.

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After seeing her incredible performance three years ago at the Evitim Apollo in London I was extremely eager to see her perform once again with her brand new album K-12 this year at Portsmouth’s Guildhall. I am of course talking about Melanie Martinez, an American alternative artist that took the world through a whirlwind of emotions with her debut album Crybaby back in 2015. Now, after a five-year break, she is not only back with a new album, but with a 92-minute film including all thirteen music videos that accompany her new songs. K-12 has a similar sound to Martinez’s Cry Baby. The haunting electronic pop mixed with eerie vocals and dark messages features in both albums and fans could not be happier with the results.

I cannot express enough how incredible Martinez is live. You are paying for a standard priced ticket for a concert and getting an entire performance with stunning dance choreography as well as a stellar singing performance given by Martinez herself. The fact that she has to use a head mic for the entirety of the performance should be evidence enough that this show is one that will keep you guessing what she will do next. She performs the album in chronological order as each song is a continuation of the next with short breaks between each one for costume and set changes. This is the only element of the performance I would critique. However, some of the breaks were filled with short ‘life lessons’ videos, teaching audiences about respecting others in the venue and about self-love which a lot of audience members really connected with.

I would also like to mention that the opening act for Martinez, Emma McGrath, was one that I will never forget. Writing her own music since 2013, singer-songwriter Emma Mcgrath is no stranger to a bit of hard graft. With two EPs already out named, The Judgement and Silent Minds, the young artist is focused on her musical vision but has found a new level of maturity and confidence in her latest effort ‘Other Side’ which she performed brilliantly.

Throughout Martinez’s career as an artist, she has never failed to stand up and discuss issues and concepts that people do not always feel comfortable talking about in everyday life. She expresses her personal emotions about mental health through her music whilst also taking on the responsibility of representing people who suffer from mental illness in a way that is completely unique to her and her style of music. Using lyrics such as’ Sippy Cup’ and ‘Training Wheels,’ which most people associate with early childhood to represent modern-day issues like mental illness is a clever way of getting people used to talking about these issues and allowing them to understand in a metaphorical way what sufferers go through on a day-to-day basis. Martinez’s music getting us one step closer to normalizing mental health and giving people the confidence to speak out and get the treatment they may or may not need.

Stay in the loop with any of Martinez’s upcoming shows here


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