mon 22/07/2024

Mitski, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - cool and quirky, yet deeply personal | reviews, news & interviews

Mitski, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - cool and quirky, yet deeply personal

Mitski, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - cool and quirky, yet deeply personal

A stunningly produced show from one of pop’s truly unique artists

'One of the unique identities in modern pop'

It was her 2018 album Be the Cowboy which saw Mitski propelled to stardom status. Laurel Hell, which followed in 2022, saw her continue on the popstar trajectory with synth-heavy songs, so the more laid back folkiness of last year’s release, The Land is Inhospitable and So are We came as a bit of a surprise.

Her gig at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall came with some deliberate seeming choices to cement her – at least for now – as a singer of folk-soaked country-style melodies as opposed to the brazen pop bangers of her last couple of records. The seats in the stalls remained, with the whole gig being seated. And her support act – Newcastle-born singer and guitarist Richard Dawson, whose raw vocals and detuned guitar brought a poignant energy to his musical storytelling – is very firmly in the folk camp.

So, you’d be forgiven for thinking Mitski’s performance was to be a bit of a chilled-out affair. Don’t be fooled. The American/Japanese singer-songwriter is still every inch the star. Dramatic, enthralling and often downright weird, she performed with beauty and precision while also doing things like playing air guitar with the attention to detail to even put it down carefully, crawling on all fours like a cat and dancing with moves reminiscent of your extrovert friend who’s had a little too much to drink at the party. 

Performing mainly tracks from the new album, "Bug like an Angel" was performed with expert precision and vocal support despite Mitski often being in unusual positions such as lying down on her back, and "My Love Mine All Mine" was beautifully tender and heartfelt. Equally as impressive as Mitski herself is her touring band, made up of several longtime collaborators.

Though she’s definitely zany, it’s not in a gratuitous way. Mitski’s quirkiness feels very much part of her authentic self and it’s little surprise she was a big fan of Bjork in her teenage years. The stage production is beautiful without being overly fussy, with glimmering oversized glitter flakes dropping down and stunning lighting design. Mitski is truly one of the most unique identities in modern pop and it will be exciting to see how she continues her artistic journey.

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