King Princess gives memorable performance to soulful crowd

Avery Wohleb

Pop singer-songwriter Mikaela Straus, known as King Princess, is quickly establishing herself as the “queer face of pop.” Ahead of her Oct. 9 show at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater, fans anticipated a night of dancing, fun and the inclusive environment of a King Princess show. Delivering just that, King Princess captured the hearts of a crowd of all ages, where her Cheap Queen Tour show gave fans a memorable concert experience.

The show kicked off with a performance by Dayglow, a charming Austin-based musician who wooed the crowd with a series of upbeat tunes. At one point, the singer requested every person in the audience turn to greet a stranger, prompting hundreds to pocket their cell phones and shake hands as he and his band continued along with a smooth instrumental break.

Following Dayglow’s set, the audience roared when Mars, a drag queen from Texas, took the stage. For 10 minutes, Mars lip synced to pop hits, dancing and hair-flipping in a seductive performance that energized the audience in the final minutes before the main act.

The excitement of the crowd swelled when King Princess finally took the stage, striding to the microphone bursting with confidence and ready to rock. Wearing an all white outfit to match her band, the 20-year-old musician opened with an unexpected ballad that quickly transitioned into the guitar-heavy rock of an unreleased song, spiking the curiosity of
the crowd.

Despite announcing to the audience that she was sick and stopping in between songs for numerous coughing fits, King Princess joked about the situation while still channeling her inner diva and falling into place as a star on the stage. Curse words were thrown left and right as she spoke to the audience, and her sassy demeanor continued as she sang songs such as the titular “Cheap Queen” and an audience favorite, “P—- is God."

The overall production of the show made for an aesthetically pleasing performance from her, with colorful lights that shined appropriately to fit the tone of the songs. Blue light
illuminated the smoke of a dozen cigarettes during slower, mellow tracks, and red lights drew the audience into KP’s world of rock ‘n’ roll. 

Perhaps the show’s only flaw was the uncomfortably loud volume of speakers placed around the stage, a choice that was detrimental to the crowd’s energy. While performing several unreleased songs, the support from the audience faltered as they stood uncomfortable and pained, unable to find the energy to continue dancing to songs they didn’t know.

The audience was able to revive their energy as King Princess performed older hits such as “Talia” and “1950.” Both slower pop tracks still managed to inspire fans to whip their heads around and shamelessly shout the lyrics at the top of their lungs. When she moved on to her heartbreak records, such as “You Destroyed My Heart” and “Trust Nobody,” the audience danced slowly with looks of admiration on their faces for a young musician with wisdom beyond her years.

King Princess defied fan expectations and ended the show with another unreleased song, which was received more positively than the unreleased songs performed earlier in the night and left the crowd with an overwhelming desire for more. By the end of the night, she established her place in Austinites’ hearts and cemented her position as a rising charismatic star the world might want to keep an eye on.