I first saw Mitski in the fall of 2015, headlining a 180-capacity venue in Washington, DC called DC9. I had originally decided to attend this show due to a queer rock band that was opening for her although upon witnessing Mitski on stage, I couldn’t take my mind off of her performance. I listened to her song “Townie” everyday for weeks, unable to shake it from my head.
Flash forward four years and several albums later, I was given the opportunity to be able to not only see her perform but also photograph the show. This time around Mitski had sold out a 1,500 capacity venue in Baltimore, MD, as well as her entire spring tour across the United States. Opening for Mitski was Jay Som, a bedroom pop artist from San Francisco best known for her song “Baybee”.
Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, Mitski’s stage was decorated with a white kitchen table and a single chair. The setup may have been small and simple but every aspect of it was more than done on purpose. Mitski entered the stage wearing kneepads, slowly and entrancingly approaching the table before sitting down. Contrasting the first time I saw her, she performed without a guitar and although the crowd asked for it, I felt that without being restrained by it she was able to truly give a much more moving experience. Mitski used the table as though it was an extension of herself, dancing alongside it, laying across it and at one point, even violently shaking it to express the emotion of the song she was singing. Performing a wide variety of songs from her discography, I was left speechless upon hearing “Townie” once again, moving me much more than it did the first time.
Mitski’s concerts are more than just shows, they’re experiences, with each song eliciting a different emotion from the viewer. Missing a performance of Mitski’s would be a huge mistake, and I urge everyone to see her fantastic live show at least once.