Photos by Neil Van
New York artist Mitski opened for Lorde at the Air Canada Centre earlier this year. Traffic made me miss her set and after her set last night at a packed Danforth Music Hall, I’m sorry I missed it.
I am new to Mitski. I was completely won over by Be The Cowboy, her fifth album, released a couple of months ago. I picked up 2016’s Puberty 2 at the merch table but I went in with no idea what to expect or even being familiar with most of her material. The show was originally booked for the Opera House, then the Phoenix before settling on and selling out the Music Hall.
A very loud roar of approval came from the audience as Mitski Miyawaki and her four-piece band hit the stage. Opening with “Remember My Name” Mitski delivered an economic and captivating set. Economic in the sense that over the course of 75 minutes, Mitski played almost a couple dozen songs.
Mitski’s stage presence was captivating to me, possibly polarizing for others, and her voice sounded perfectly clear and surprisingly strong within a sublime sound mix. Her moves, almost robotic and really suited for a smaller room, injected a bit of humanity into the proceedings. Her moves had nothing to do with the crowd, but I’ll bet many in the crowd would do similar moves on their own.
It wasn’t until a half-dozen or son songs in that Mitski acknowledged the crowd declaring “I don’t know you, but I love you” finally letting the air out of the weight of expectation. She would declare later while her guitarist tuned his guitar that she was terrible at stage banter.
The only songs I knew were from the new album, but I was just as impressed with the material that was a stranger to me. But highlights I knew were “Me and My Husband”, “Come Into the Water”, “Nobody” and “Washing Machine Heart”. She closed the night out on guitar with “A Burning Hill” off Puberty 2. She came back for a couple of more songs including a beautiful “Two Slow Dancers”.
Opening the night was the Overcoats hailing from New York. Decked out in overcoats, the three piece delivered a peppy and spirited folkie set for an appreciative healthy-sized crowd. Given a generous 45 minute set, the band aired a couple of unreleased songs from a new album not yet released, one a club-floor stormer, the other an airy folk number that unveiled good pop sensibilities. They were sweet as were their songs.