Even though Mitski’s Glasgow show was just another step on a sold-out European tour, she brought nothing but passion and energy to Stereo’s packed-full basement stage. The night kicked off with Bristol band Trust Fund who set the tone for the rest of the show with their weird, cool, childish brand of indie rock. Although I wasn’t expecting much from Trust Fund, they played a good set and obviously had a lot of fun: it felt like watching your friends-from-school muck around with instruments on stage. Mitski watched her support, front and centre, singing along, which was really sweet to see.
There is no doubt that Mitski (full name Mitski Miyawaki) is magical. Holding her bass, and accompanied on stage by just a guitarist and drummer, she began her set by singing a few silvery arpeggios into the mic. Her voice cut through the silence in the room, before the band jumped into ‘Townie’, a song from her 2014 album “Bury Me at Makeout Creek”. Mitski is a powerful singer and her voice really carried the simple set-up of the band. Mitski fans in the crowd were happy to hear songs from her older albums, such as “First Love/Late Spring” and “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart”. These were interspersed with songs from her new album, “Puberty 2”, as well as a dark, brooding cover of Calvin Harris’ “How Deep is Your Love?”. Disappointingly, I found that she butchered the song that she described as her “hit”. “Your Best American Girl” from her latest album was delivered too fast, partly due to the speed at which the guitarist introduced the song which was then obviously difficult to continue. The crowd still loved it, however, and I found it did little to impair the show overall.
Every now and then, between songs, Mitski would take the time to talk to the audience. Part of her charm is an excellent sense of humour, and she mused to the audience about the state of the graffiti in the venue’s green room. She wondered aloud to the audience about why “people with penises” feel the need to draw penises everywhere, and declared that she just wants to “enjoy a nice cup of tea in [her] dressing room without being confronted by dangerously aroused male genitalia”. Mitski has a natural charisma that comes from being very good at what she does, and even though her songs tell of her feeling like an outsider, it was evident that being on stage is where she belongs.
For me the best part of the show was towards the end, when the guitarist and drummer left the stage, leaving Mitski with just her guitar and a microphone. It was here that we saw the more personal side of the artist, as well as her humility and unhindered talent. As getting off stage was difficult due to the layout of the venue and the crowd, she did her final song and her encore together, finishing with “Last Words of a Shooting Star”, a tragic beautiful song which seems to encompass everything in Mitski’s music. As the crowd spilled out onto the street after the show, I felt as if we were unified in the experience that we had just had- that we had just witnessed the work of a real-life Shooting Star.