Mitksi continued her Be the Cowboy tour yesterday at a sold out show at The Vic Theater. This was my first time seeing a sold out show at The Vic. I was, somewhat naively, surprised when I arrived 30 minutes after doors opened to see the venue was absolutely packed with people (several of whom were wearing cowboy hats.)
The Overcoats, a New York based electro pop duo, opened the show. The crowd responded really well to their upbeat music. The two singers had really great chemistry on stage. You could tell they were really great friends.
Shortly after The Overcoats left the stage, Mitski in all her glory walked on. She had isolated the stage so that she made use of the huge space. Mitski wore ballet shoes and knee pads so that she could roll around during her set. Her voice was absolutely beautiful and resounding. It filled the whole room. Not only did she use her voice as expression, but she also used her body. Her songs are so deep and personal, but this intimacy is masked by distorted guitar. The way she moves her body on stage reflected the weight of experience that these songs were based off of. It was a way of connecting her lyrics to her real emotions. She ended one song face down in childs pose, reverting back within herself.
Several time she broke her stoic character to express her gratitude to the crowd. She said that she wrote all of her songs alone in her room, so it’s touching that so many people relate to it that she’s able to sell out a venue. It makes her feel less alone. Evenstill, you could tell Mitski was not super comfortable being the center of attention. I feel like she used her choreography as a way to remove herself from the fact she’s performing in front of so many people, and basically publicizing her most personal insecurities and experiences.
Most of the songs Mitski performed were off her new album, Be the Cowboy. Mitski ran back and forth across the stage in “Why Didn’t You Stop Me” and “Me and My Husband.” The crowd absolutely lost it when she played her hit song, “Nobody.”
Mitski said a lot of her new album is inspired by archetypes. “Me and My Husband” tells a story about a stereotypical housewife, whose identity is attached to her partner’s. The title of the record, “Be the Cowboy,” is also a social commentary. Mitski explores the common American image of the cowboy, a hypermasculine figure who is sort of a “lone ranger,” and someone who is able to have intimate relationships with women and then just leave detached. Mitski wants to reclaim that, or “Be the Cowboy,” and challenge the notion of unaccessible masculinity.
“Be the Cowboy” broke the record for most number of weeks at #1 on the NACC’s charts. Her album is out now on all platforms.