Despite having to endure a terrible playlist beforehand, Getintothis’ Orla Foster was left emotional following Mitski’s set at the Ruby Lounge.
There’s a palpable wave of relief when Mitski takes to the stage tonight. Having suffered what seemed like the entire FIFA playlist during the wait, it’s hard not to feel we’ve earned her three times over. Lucky, then, that the adopted New Yorker arrives prepared to launch into a fiery and impeccably tight set.
While her band do a great job of recreating the raw punk energy of Dan The Dancer and the stirring, nineties blockbuster percussion of Once More To See You, it’s when she’s left alone on stage that Mitski really comes to the fore. Her self-confessed “photographic memory of emotions” means that she can distill raw pain into witty accounts of rejection and lost opportunity, somehow making the most specific (and lonely) experiences relatable.
But raw pain isn’t the only thing on the menu. Tonight Mitski is relaxed, radiant, and sharing her pleasure with the crowd: “When I was sixteen, I used to do karaoke. And now I get to come out and do karaoke every night.”
There are too many singalongs to number, but Your Best American Girl is the big one. The room is alive with Mancunian men bellowing “If I could, I’d be your little spoon”. You don’t know karaoke until you’ve known a room alive with Mancunian men bellowing “If I could, I’d be your little spoon”.
She works her way through some more of her most stripped-down and elegiac material, finishing up with Last Words Of A Shooting Star which leaves the room a cauldron of emotion, with everyone elbow to elbow, swarming to get nearer the stage. Tears roll down this writer’s cheeks. Caledonian Coast to Coast pale ale rolls down the faux-fur collar of this writer’s jacket. Mitski stalks briskly off like the show never happened, but then she relents and does an encore, Class of 2013, about moving back in with your parents when you’re broke and broken. This is an artist who understands modern malaise like nobody else.