Mitski - Be The Cowboy TourOct 27, 2018
October 26th marked the seventh night of Mitski's 'Be The Cowboy' Tour with electronic-pop duo, Overcoats. The night was highly anticipated ever since the release of 'Be The Cowboy', back in early August. In support of her record, Mitski has sold out every date on her North American tour, which goes to show just how much her fans adore her. Even though it was a rainy evening, fans lined up outside First Avenue long before doors opened. All of this excitement was for good reason; standing in the jam packed First Avenue mainroom to watch these two acts perform was a real treat.
Overcoats, a duo made up of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, started off the night with high energy, both from the crowd and the artists themselves. They are no stranger to the Twin Cities, having previously toured through Minneapolis with the likes of Tennis and Maggie Rogers. The duo began their performance by standing still in the center of the stage, staring intently at the audience, while the lights raised, and the audience was immediately captivated. Throughout their set, they played music off their album 'Young' and even graced us with a few unreleased tracks. The duo had great chemistry, which was seen not only in their flawless vocal harmonies, but also their syncronized choreography. Their musicianship is incredibly noteworthy, and while their set was very well rehearsed and executed, their dynamic as a duo was really special as well. It was obvious that they were genuinely having a great time performing with each other, which in turn, put the audience in great spirits. The duo was radiating with graditude for the audience, for their craft, and for each other.
When Mitski finally came out on stage, the crowd was almost completely silent with anticipation. Seeing her emerge on stage was like Christmas coming early and when her voice filled the stage you could almost feel everyone collectively shiver. Mostly playing songs off her latest album along with Puberty 2 and Bury Me At Makeout Creek, it was almost hypnotic watching her play. Behind Mitski, the screens showed stills and videos of nature and black, grey, and white graphics and even the lights matched the melancholy scheme.
This performance differed from previous Mitski shows that I've seen. With the release of 'Be The Cowboy', she has matured as an artist in various ways, and that showed in her live performance as well. For example, she ditched her bass guitar and focused on her vocal performance and her interpretive dance influenced choreography, which was mesmerizing. Her dance moves were often done in slow motion, with periodic bursts of a more manic and panicked energy, which paired with her music quite nicely. The choreograpy and lighting created a visual spectacle that I hadn't seen in her performances in previous years, and certainly caused her performance to be incredibly consuming.
One of the reasons that makes Mitski so loveable is her uncanny ability to elicit the emotions that are usually left unsaid. Her lyrics are powerful and hard hitting and unbelievably easy to relate to. Tracks such as Nobody, Old Friend, and Two Slow Dancers mark the isolation that comes with fame. Relationships, romantic or not, are bound to become even more complicated when you are constantly being looked at through different and unknown lenses. All of the tracks seem to acknowledge these self realizations and the emotions that are bound to come with it.
Overall, the performance was incredible. Mitski's band played on par with the recordings of her songs, and Mitski's velvety vocals were beautiful and incredibly emotive. The set was perfectly proportioned in Mitski tunes that you dance to and Mitski tunes that you cry to, although the two are most definitely not mutually exclusive. The audience loved every second of it, so much that even 24 songs probably was not enough.
Marina Lundell & Sylvia Jennings