Thekla | 7th March
Mitski released one of the best albums of last year. Puberty 2 is both fierce and fragile – it encompasses everything that makes us human by showing both strength and vulnerability in all their messy glory. Thekla is the perfect platform for the songwriter; it’s darkened, intimate surroundings make this feel like a living room full of friends, rather than a wall between performer and audience.
Accompanying Mitski on her European tour is Bristol-based group Personal Best, who have, quite frankly, perfected the indie-pop banger. Their set is playful and heartfelt, as vocalist and guitarist Katie Gatt belts out lyrics regarding love and loss, all with a huge grin on her face. The instrumentation is brash and ballsy, with the note-for-note precision echoed through the obvious connection each member has to each other. Final song ‘This is What We Look Like’ is an anthem for the other – for those who never felt like they fit in to the norm. A celebration of this difference manifests with the eager front rows, who belt out each syllable with an impassioned fervour.
Mitski begins her set with a hushed, humble approach. Quietly greeting the audience, her set is transformed into an undeniable force of aggression, frustration and sorrow. Her songwriting laying bare her inner demons, her vulnerable approach to this performance garners them even more emotive, as a hushed retrospection spreads across the room.
Quick tracks like ‘My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars’ and ‘A Loving Feeling’ are gutsy and forthright, as Mitski seems to enter a concentrated, emotional headspace that sees her spit each word with an unguarded beauty. As vulnerable as these lyrics are, her presentation evokes a certain strength, as if the confessions harness a power of ownership and relief.
‘First Love / Late Spring’ taken from the 2014 album Bury Me At Make Out Creek is a stand out revelation, urging new listeners to dig deeper into the artist’s back catalogue. Of course, single ‘Your Best American Girl’ garners a hearty response but it’s the quieter moments of Mitski’s solo endeavours towards the end of the set that prove her as a rare, all-encompassing artist.
Check out ‘Your Best American Girl’ below.