King Princess at Mission Ballroom: Mission Accomplished


Bailey Liverman

Mikaela Strauss, the 23-year-old pop singer from New York who performs under the moniker King Princess, put on quite the show Monday night at Mission Ballroom. Their performance was enjoyable and engaging as they kept the crowd wrapped around her finger, however, it didn’t leave me wishing the night would never end.

While they played with traditional rock instruments, they had a varied setlist that ranged from produced, radio-friendly pop music to intense rock and roll. Most of the songs performed were from their 2022 album “Hold On Baby,” which is much more musically sound and polished than their last album “Cheap Queen.” This is their first tour since before the pandemic, and it is clear that she is getting back into the enjoyment of performing. In fact, it seemed like the performance was more for the sake of performance than it was for the music.

According to Strauss, it’s not about streams, but it’s about the people they write for and the people they represent.

While I would say that this style of performance does not work for every artist, Strauss wore it well. They had funny and relatable stage banter, often focusing on their queer identity and their place as a “queer pop star,” and even incorporated discussion on politics and the state of the music industry. According to Strauss, it’s not about streams, but it’s about the people they write for and the people they represent. However, some of the stage banter could come off as a bit much to some, as they often encouraged the crowd to keep cheering in the breaks between sets.

The music itself showed a good understanding of how to make solid pop music that is unique enough without sacrificing relatability or quality. With quirky lyrics that are sometimes cutting and raw while also being sweet and gentle, the music, especially from “Hold On Baby,” made the concert memorable. Some favorites from the night were “Winter is Hopeful,” a sweet love song focusing on the complexities of a long-term relationship. That contrasted with their radio hit “1950,” which revolves around unrequited queer love. It looks like it all worked out for King Princess in the end, as they had the crowd dancing the entire time.

More information on King Princess can be found here.
All photographs by Bailey Liverman