King Princess turns up the volume on her 'Cheap Queen' album at the Pageant
Concert review

King Princess turns up the volume on her 'Cheap Queen' album at the Pageant

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2019 Coachella Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 - Day 1

King Princess performs April 19, 2019, at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.

“We need to get me another hit; I’m so (bleeping) tired of playing this song,” King Princess pouted before playing “1950” near the end of her concert Thursday night at the Pageant. “But,” she added, “I do love it.”

Loving it would be something she shares with her fans, who filled the venue to capacity and seemed to know every word of “1950” and, indeed, the whole of the young singer’s repertoire: the 13 tracks from her debut album, “Cheap Queen,” which was released in October, plus the 2018 EP that preceded it, “Make My Bed,” which includes “1950.”

Don’t bet against King Princess — real name Mikaela Straus — scoring another hit, or maybe even many. At 21, she has already released a number of songs that sound like they were built for bigger venues. Possessed of both confidence and insouciant charm, she worked the Pageant stage and bantered with the audience — “I’m a little drunk. I feel like talking,” she quipped at one point — like a veteran performer.

Some of that talk was a little loopy. She said she thought the venue smelled like waffles and talked about her shoes, which she said a fan insisted on buying for her. She also asserted that her album is good, adding, “I know you think it’s good because you bought the damn tickets.”

Straus played “Cheap Queen” in its entirety, although not in sequence, plus some earlier songs. Much of her material deals with ex-girlfriends or relationships teetering on the brink. The drama is right there in the titles, such as “Do You Wanna See Me Cry?” “You Destroyed My Heart” and “Trust Nobody,” and it was palpable onstage. She also connected with “Homegirl,” on which the singer wrestles with her sexuality, as well as “Pussy Is God,” which celebrates it forthrightly.

Backed by a four-piece band, Straus sang, danced and struck poses, occasionally sitting down to play piano. But she really kicked up the energy in the room when she strapped on a guitar. Her songs alternate between cool, understated pop tracks such as “Prophet” and the swaying “Ain’t Together” and celebratory dance numbers like “Hit the Back.”

But Straus also rocks, and her songs often hit harder in concert than they do on record. That was scarcely possible on “Ohio,” one of two encore numbers drawn from the deluxe edition of “Cheap Queen” (which was released Friday), whose original is itself a barn-burner.

That elusive new hit King Princess is hoping for may come sooner than later. She’s got the goods to make it happen.

Industrial/hip-hop artist Kilo Kish opened the show. There was also a brief lip-sync appearance by a local drag performer whose name was not announced.

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