by Jason Crouse
I’ve seen Mitski five times. Every show has been a different experience— one was at a festival, one in a tiny theater in Providence, one opening for Lorde, one at Wellesley College, and now this time at the House of Blues. The difference in her production between the various places I have seen her have made each show extremely unique, since a small solo acoustic show at a women’s college is a completely different vibe than a full-band show in Boston’s biggest arena, though the difference in experiences through the lens of my emotional state at each show is more intriguing. Mitski shows when you’re already happy seem fun and not as impactful. Mitski shows that you attend a few days post-breakup seem to be curated for that exact emotional state.
I forgot to listen to Overcoats until I was walking to Fenway for the show, but I clearly could have trusted Mitski’s decision for her opener. I was extremely surprised (in a good way) and totally impressed with them. They were a catchy, fun, energetic, and powerful girl group. I was in a dull mood when I got to the show, but they raised everyone’s spirits with a care-free upbeat dance party— a perfect setup for the emotional soul-crushing realizations yet to come when Mitski took the stage. For an opener I had never heard before, they were absolutely a 10/10 and I plan on keeping up with their future endeavors.
Mitski, Mitski, Mitski. At this point in her career she has mastered the theatrics of her vocals, though beginning with her summer tour (where NU legend Sidney Gish opened!) she began experimenting with new ideas. Most notable are her interpretive dance-esque moves that she performed during her songs. For ‘Francis Forever,’ she paced back and forth frantically. At one point she brought out moves reminiscent of The Robot, and at another she even brought a chair to flail around on. The first time I saw this new addition, I really wasn’t sure how I felt. After this show, however, I’m sure that I find her dancing uncomfortable and odd, but at the same time it gives her shows a more ~Mitski~ vibe. Everything about the show is meticulously calculated in a way that is impressive and intriguing yet at the same time just weird enough to be distinctly Mitski. She has built a sort of cult following already, to the point where nobody actually cares if she just writhes around on stage or does the robot for 5 minutes straight— they will stan regardless. The dancing was hardly a distraction from the show overall, and I was sucked right in anyway. She performed the same set as her August show, though it was a completely different vibe– both because the crowd was 50x bigger, and because her newest album has since been released so the audience could sing along to every word. Personally, I was singing and dancing and letting out all my worries. Then, she sang ‘Nobody.’
‘Nobody,’ released in June as the second single from her latest album, was on repeat in my apartment for literally the entire summer. It has an upbeat happy sound, though the actual message expressed in the lyrics is one of exasperation and exhaustion with the trials and tribulations of love and relationships. I’ve found that in my happier days, ‘Nobody’ is just a fun song to bop to, but recently it became a relatable anthem for my own experiences. The direct aftermath of a breakup feels a lot like what Mitski experiences in this song— It feels like the world is against you and that nobody will ever truly want you, and though I can recognize a couple weeks later that life actually goes on and things will improve, you can bet your ass that in that moment when Mitski performed ‘Nobody,’ I let all my ugly-crying feelings out. Being able to scream along with the person who wrote a song that perfectly details your emotions, releasing all the pent-up feelings you have, is wildly cathartic and absolutely the best way to recover. I had to leave before the encore so ‘Nobody’ was one of the last songs I was present for, and I left feeling warm, happy, and drained in a nice way.
Before this show, Mitski was just a powerful emo sadgirl queen. In this instance she was all that in a way that I came to appreciate way way more. Her actual show was nothing new compared to the ones I had previously been to, but experiencing these songs in the heartbroken mindset they seemed designed for cemented Mitski’s place in my mind as an absolute legend. If anyone knows anything about the pain that happens with love gone awry, it is Mitski.