Having just released two new singles, King Princess stopped by Kentish Town Forum for a highly-anticipated show ahead of her Glastonbury performance.
Within minutes of arriving at Kentish Town Road it’s immediately clear who is going to the King Princess gig; full looks have been pulled and home craft materials have been raided. King Princess’ appearance is already hotly anticipated.
Supporting is Mallrat, the moniker of Australian artist Grace Shaw, whose kooky, big-room pop sounds just right with a large Pride flag-wielding, glitter-sporting crowd to shout the lyrics back at her when prompted.
As soon as King Princess steps onstage, the screams are deafening. She is nonchalant and confident, slouching across the stage in her tank top and tracksuit bottoms. Opening with her recent double-sided single ‘Useless Phrases’ and ‘Cheap Queen’, King Princess, aka Mikaela Strauss, exudes sex appeal. Cocksure and entirely aware of it, she’s a magnetic performer.
Through her most-loved songs, like ‘1950’, ‘Pussy Is God’, and ‘Talia’, the crowd sings every word back at her. It’s in moments like these that her rock star potential becomes apparent. She belts through these hits, exhibiting her astounding live vocal talent and in these moments King Princess is electric.
She also knows exactly who her audience is. Never having been coy when talking about her own sexuality, she has drawn a (largely female) crowd who throw bras up to her onstage; Introducing one of the new tracks on her album she says, “this is a sad one so grab your gay companion!” and everyone in the audience immediately snatches the hand of whoever they came with and gives each other a loving look, a beautiful moment to witness.
When performing songs from her forthcoming debut album, the energy falls slightly flat. Although their musical quality is undeniable, there is no way that these moments can compare to the crowd losing their minds when the opening bars of ‘Upper West Side’ start playing. It feels like a case of management attempting to sustain the hype around their artist without them necessarily having the back catalogue, yet, to back this up.
After her encore, King Princess lets her guitar slide off her shoulder and onto the floor, leaving it there for the feedback to ring through the monitors. She’s letting us know: I’m it. Don’t sleep on me.