Cry Baby’s Last Stop

South+Side+Ballroom+Dallas%2C+Texas

Rani Hamilton

South Side Ballroom Dallas, Texas

Rani Hamilton, Staff Writer

On Thursday October 27th, I attended the coolest (and strangest) concert I’ve been to during my 16 years of living. I had been anticipating this night for more than 2 years. I waited in line for 30 minutes, surrounded by people dressed like baby dolls and wearing two-toned wigs. My friend and I finally reached the front of the venue, the sign reading in bold letters,

IN THE SOUTH SIDE BALLROOM

MELANIE MARTINEZ.

When I first heard Melanie’s cover of “Toxic” by Britney Spears in 2014, I was automatically hooked on her voice and unique style of singing. I needed more from her. I took it upon myself to do a quick .5 second Google search and found her debut single, “Dollhouse”. Right after that, I knew she would become my new favorite singer that embodied an antique baby doll at the age of 19. Not that anyone had really held that place before her.

We entered the venue, bought our merch, waited in the longest bathroom line I’ve ever seen, then finally made our way to the stage. The stage was decorated with every possible thing you could relate to Melanie: a giant birthday cake, a giant crib with a giant mobile hanging above it with teddy bears and baby dolls, and giant building blocks spelling out “Crybaby”. If you were unaware of Melanie’s conceptual album, you would have thought you walked into a giant baby convention.

When Melanie’s band walked onto the stage, I wasn’t shocked to see all 3 of them wearing a bunny-related head pieces. While the drummer and bassist went with subtle bunny ears, the guitarist wore a full on bunny mask. I don’t know about you, but I could never force myself on stage wearing a mask of a rabbit’s head while playing the guitar. Not that I would be embarrassed, I just could never be that talented at something.

Before the show started, I had a perfect view of the microphone. I was going to see Melanie perfectly with my 10/10 vision, despite how short I was, and I was happier than ever. That was until she stepped onto stage. The two people in front of me suddenly grew 2 ft, allowing me to only see the pink backdrop with a teddy bear. I don’t know why I was expecting to be blessed during a standing room concert. Why would that ever happen to a short person?

Melanie opened up the show with her title track “Cry Baby”, immediately capturing your attention with her vocals. She looked beyond gorgeous, her hair half white, half black and wore a lace dress with a big red ribbon around her neck.  The audience (including me) went wild, shouting the lyrics with her. I never thought I’d be shouting “I’ll just let them drown” in a room with 300 other people. When the song finished, she took a moment to talk to us. She informed us of how Dallas was her last stop on the Cry Baby US Tour, and thanked us for coming to see her. And that was about all the time she took to talk to us, besides two or three more thank you’s between songs. Thankfully, the next 15 songs she performed made up for it.

My favorite of the show by far was the performance she put on during “Tag You’re It” and the follow up track “Milk and Cookies”. If you have yet to see the combined music video for these songs, you’re missing out on a life-changing experience. A man dressed up as a wolf helped Melanie recreate the video on stage, and my mind has never been more blown. The wolf chased her during “Tag You’re It” as she sang, then sat at a table at the front of the stage during “Milk and Cookies” as she stood at the back of the stage, singing about poisoning him. It was possibly the most intense and weirdest thing I have seen happen before my eyes.

As the show went on, it was impossible to not fall more and more in love with her voice. Beforehand, I was afraid she would be the type of singer who tries too hard to intensify their voice on stage because of her strong artistic image, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Her ranges were perfect, and it felt almost as if I was just listening to the album (no, she wasn’t lip-syncing). When the encore ended, I felt empty inside. I had waited so long to see her, and once I did, the hour and a half flew by faster than I had ever expected. She promised to come back next year, and if she doesn’t keep that promise, I will never forgive her. Her new EP Cry Baby’s Extra Clutter comes out November 25, and I recommend checking it out. Melanie’s onto her fifth year in the music industry, and with her unique image and concept she’s put out, she has yet to disappoint.