Photos by Daniela Tantalo
Big Apple’s singer-songwriter, Mitski, makes her 24th stop on her 27 North American Tour dates in Toronto at Queen Street’s hot venue, The Horseshoe Tavern. With supporting acts, Jay Som and Japanese Breakfast, the night was filled with sentimental vibes. A packed and heated house made for some highly anticipated enrollment as concert goers filled the small venue. This North American tour was not just any regular tour, it was the first all female Asian tour. Labeling herself as “Dad Rock” on her Bandcamp, Jay Som opens the night with songs about being broke and falling in love. The Californian native performed acoustically with just her electric and pedals. Som’s music, which was a mixture of alterative meets surf rock, had incredible touching guitaring like her signature delay which was featured in every song. The shy singer-songwriter performed many songs off her latest album, Turn Into (2016) which she released through Bandcamp. Captivating songs like “Forget it Kid” a single released in 2014 on her Bandcamp, made her stick out as a unique guitar player as well as a musician. The night was also filled with celebration as it marked the date of Som’s signing to Yellow Records.
When Japanese Breakfast took stage, the typical indie artist trope had left the minds of many lingering in the crowd. The triple hailing from Philadelphia began their show on a happier and more enchanted note. After releasing their debut album Psychopomp (2016) through Yellow K records which was written and produced by lead singer, Michelle Zauner; a record she also made dedicated to her mother who had passed. Although lyrically, the music was reflective of the hard time she was facing, she didn’t let the grief take a hold of the night. Performing “Everybody Wants to Love You” a heavy dance filled song with light sugar sweet vocals became a favorite of the night by fans all around. Zauner paced around with her electric making sure to smile and sing the hook “Everybody Wants to Love You!” “Jane Cum” was also another impeccable song as it had haunting lyrics and ambient guitars as well as heavy based synthesizer, very dream- esque. Zauner’s vocals were undoubtedly brilliant during the performance of this song, she performed with anger and loss and much need emotion just to make this song a tear jerker.
Mitski took stage in a quietly and unnoticeable fashion but had it not been for the audience’s welcome chants and screams. Opening her set with a song off her last record, Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014) the crowd was ready for some immense sentiment and light melancholy. This year had been a good year to Mitski as the singer-writer released her 4th record, Puberty 2 (2016). Interestingly enough, the night was filled with both a mixture of songs from her latest and last album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014) with great retro filled tracks like “Townie” and her latest album, Puberty 2 (2016) with tracks about unrequited love like “Your Best American Girl” which was fantastic to hear live. The young 25 year old’s voice was unlike many voices in the Alternative rock scene at the moment, she bridged falsetto vibratos with a eastern folky feel. She closed her set with an ambient old school song called “Last Shooting Star” off Bury Me at Makeout Creek (2014).