Melanie Martinez is the real deal. It’s as clear as the plastic on her handmade, see-through dress.
In the Baldwin native’s first New York show to support her “Dollhouse” EP (Atlantic), she charmingly showed fans at Webster Hall’s Marlin Room Tuesday night that her unique musical vision is ready for prime time.
Backed by a two-man band (dressed in man-size onesies with bibs that say “YUM YUM,” of course), Martinez combined her fascination with child-like sounds and visuals with a very adult love of trap music and hip-hop. The same goes for her lyrics, which take images from childhood, like “Dollhouse” or “Carousel,” and warp them with adult experiences. The new song “Alphabet Boy,” which turns the “ABCs” into a relationship power struggle, is a sign Martinez plans to continue down the same path for her full-length album debut later this year.
It’s like next-level Lana Del Rey, -- which, considering Del Rey’s “Ultraviolence” album is expected to hit No. 1 this week, seems like a pretty great place to be.
Though Martinez, 19, has only a handful of tours to her name, she can handle herself on the stage. When the sound abruptly went out during “You Love I,” she simply shrugged her shoulders and kept going. It’s that fearlessness that makes her choice to slow down Gwen Stefani’s “The Sweet Escape” into a torch song, which she partially plays on a kazoo, work so well. And it allows her to take on all the twists-and-turns of Beyonce’s “Drunk in Love” and deliver it in her own style.
Martinez is well on her way. She’s just waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.
SETLIST: Bittersweet Tragedy / Carousel / Alphabet Boy / You Love I / The Sweet Escape / Starring Role / Dead to Me / Drunk in Love / Night Mime / Cry Baby / Dollhouse
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