One of Madison’s favorite indie rockers graced the Sylvee on Wednesday night, a venue size upgrade from playing at the Majestic last year. Mitski Miyawaki, who goes by just Mitski, had an explosive show filled with performative acts that showcased her newest blow-up album, Be The Cowboy.
Mitski’s songs — on both her newer album and the rest of her discography — are filled with longing, many circling the themes of unrequited love, feeling unwanted, not fitting in or not knowing which path to take. The strength of her vocal skills, which expertly translate the pain and longing transcribed in the lyrics, could be felt throughout the whole venue.
Opening with the explosive “Remember My Name," a desperate but also optimistic tune which rampages into a chorus that nobly asks for a lover who will remember her name, the venue was filled with her haunting voice and the crowd went wild. Mitski followed this with “Washing Machine Heart," a mid-tempo bop describing an ill-fitted situationship, and “First Love / Late Spring” off of a previous album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek.
These songs describe the true pain of love and yearning, and Mitski delivered them flawlessly. At one point during her performance, she laid back on a table that she had brought on stage with her legs open and in the air, singing with her face angled to the ceiling. This pose was dramatic and captured the spirit of the night and of Mitski’s music, a woman waiting and desperate for a home or a lover to call her own.
The artist seemed to do everything she could to connect with the crowd, peppering monologues in between songs and reaching out to connect through touch and eye contact as well as music and dance. After the show, the artist tweeted: “Today in a pause between songs someone yelled really loud ‘you’re so weird’ and then there was silence and another quieter voice said, ‘thank you.’ This short interaction fed me for the rest of the set and will probably fuel me for the rest of this tour. Thank you.” For me this tweet says it all: Madison loves Mitski and Mitski loves Madison.
We’re all weird, longing, desperate, hopeful and sometimes sad. But Mitski is here with us to put those complex emotions into haunting yet danceable (sometimes weep-able) songs that capture what love is, and how we feel about it.