words: Everly Jazi
photos: Everly Jazi + Ansley Lee
photos: Everly Jazi
"I'm sorry I didn't actually dress up today,” Mitski told the Seattle crowd on Wednesday (Oct.31). “I'm your ex-wife."
The musician stood in the center of the stage, facing costume-clad fans. She had no guitar, just her kneepads and a modern choreography agenda, free to interpret her newest album’s contemplative, emotional and empowering lyrics through dance.
She took time with clear vocals, going slow and steady with the swing rhythm of a brewed, swirly “First Love / Late Spring.” A guitar riff walked up and down alongside her relaxed voice and moving shapes filled the screens behind the band.
The video switched to a busy street at night, as Mitski finally grabbed the microphone out of its stand and started to pace dramatically from one side of the stage to the other. She kept her head down, but her vocals were powerful and led the energy of the instrumentation.
Later in the night, Mitski’s dancing with a metal chair rationalized the kneepads. She moved almost mechanically with the melodramatic ballads, and catchy drum beats.
"It's Halloween,” she told the crowd after “Dan the Dancer,” The veil in between worlds is thin. We're going to have some thin veil energy on stage tonight."
On “A Pearl,” the electric guitar raged, the instrumentation proliferating to the chorus. Mitski’s voice stayed commanding as she enunciated each lyric, serious and composed. She sat on the chair and glowing yellow fog rolled through. With the repetition of “glory” in “Thursday Girl,” Mitski looked up to the sky and started her dance. The keys and cymbals roared and the crowd added a layer of vocals.
Mitski began “I Will” with a short interpretive dance, and the energy rose until it plateaued at the bridge and last verses. Her vocals turned to euphonious yelling, promising the crowd she will be brave and pounding her chest.
The room went dark for “Nobody” and the instrumentation came in with the lights after the crowd went silent with anticipation. Mitski sang the word “nobody” until it lost all meaning and jumped into a half-time scat with disco-style beats. Blue laser lights came out through the fog and the band shifted to “I Bet on Losing Dogs.” Mitski held out her arms as if holding a dance partner. After a few times of moving around the dance floor, she looked at her hands with confusion as if the partner disappeared. The crowd was captivated by her acting and reacted to each emotion she displayed.
As the spooky, art-filled night came to an end, Mitski played “A Burning Hill” on stage. She finally donned an acoustic guitar, and sang with an equally as mellow tone as on her album. For an encore, her band came back to play “Two Slow Dancers” and “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart,” both exemplifying Mitski’s vocal range, and strength as a songwriter.
photos: ansley lee