Mitski at The Tivoli Theatre, Dublin on September 22nd, 2018
Mitski returned to Ireland on the crest of a wave following the release of her critically acclaimed luscious new album ‘Be The Cowboy’, that will no doubt trouble the upper echelons of the forthcoming end of years lists.
Never one to be predictable, Mitski Miyawaki doesn’t simply deliver a straight up rock n roll show though. In an age when performers, especially female artists, are supposed to write, sing and perform all of their own material. Mitski takes another road. Instead, diving into performance art with a highly choreographed set which leaves her band to take care of the music for the most part while she connects directly with her adoring audience.
What unfolds is a highly physical performance, which builds slowly from her statuesque rendering of Remember My Name, Mitski perched motionless, arms behind her back. I Don’t Smoke sees her miming drawing on a cigarette at the appropriate juncture throughout the song. While Francis Forever sees her walk the stage at a slowly increasing pace throughout the entirety of the song until she is all but running from side to side of the Tivoli stage.
It’s an unusual but captivating approach to performance which forces the audience to consider the music in a new light. Things get slightly sexy as Mitski uses a chair as a prop throughout Dan The Dancer and Once More To See You from her second album ‘Puberty 2’.
While somewhat confusing in places due to the unexpected physicality of the performance there is something truly spellbinding about Mitski onstage, and her captivating display is matched by her vocal proficiency; note perfect throughout and delivered with deft touches of emotion where necessary.
Her sub-disco banger Nobody shines, unifying new fans and old alike with its heart-breaking tale of unrequited love. Why Didn’t You Stop Me and Geyser mine similar territory with great success.
Mitski takes to the stage solo with guitar for renditions of My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars and A Burning Hill which, while ably performed seem somewhat conventional in the footsteps of the earlier physicality.
Mitski returns for an encore including a majestic performance of Two Slow Dancers and there’s something to be said for leaving them on a high and wanting more. After 24 songs, she should have called it a day and ticked all of the above boxes, but instead Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart feels quite superfluous in the face of all that came before it. It’s a somewhat bitty end to a triumphant performance from one of the most exciting artists in the world right now.