Up Close with Mitski

Mitski is the manifestation of my acned, adolescent, Asian-American teen angst turned adulthood.

Story by Namrata Prakash

Photos courtesy of Sara Vela

I waited in line for over an hour and a half to be in the second row of her show, despite getting my period and stuffing a heating pad down my pants during the opening act. It felt like the exact kind of chaotic energy that can only be matched by Mitski’s avant garde performance onstage.

The opening act was electronic pop duo Overcoats, who were dressed accordingly. They left a lasting impression with upbeat songs such as “Cherry,” “Wine I Don’t Believe In Us,” “Leave the Light On” and “Hold Me Close.” All of which center around the theme of male disappointment — not a very far-off concept for many of us. They ended with two unreleased songs and an acknowledgement towards women who have been sexually assaulted, as well as a thank you and segue to the headliner, Mitski.

Mitski graced the stage and our hearts with “Remember My Name,” the first song off of Be The Cowboy , and from then on hypnotized the audience under her presence and psychedelic visuals projected onto three screens onstage. Mitski kept a healthy balance between old songs from Bury Me In Makeout Creek and Puberty 2, with the more personal “Dan the Dancer,” “Your Best American Girl,” and “Francis Forever.”

Unique to this tour is Mitski’s incorporation of choreography that resembles performance art pieces, heavy on the handwork in framing her face and body when appropriate. She was also not afraid to play with props as she executed a routine on a simple chair, and was even able to tug at our emotions by simply walking briskly from one side of the stage to the other for the duration of an entire song.

Mitski made the audience feel entranced not only with vocals but her sweet, soft voice and candid storytelling. She recounted a time she came to South by Southwest to perform, had a panic attack, walked into a nearby river and proceeded to stand there until she was chased by some unknown men. However, she managed to make it back and play her set because “she is a professional.”

It felt like everyone knew her personally as we screamed lyrics to “Nobody” or “Washing Machine Heart,” basking in the one personal moment we might ever get with this indie rock princess. Her dedication towards her craft and her calm but compelling nature make us want more, and I can’t wait to be back in line for another show.