Review: Mitski live in Montreal

Mitski live in Montreal

Mitski/Japanese Breakfast/Jay Som – Bar Le Ritz PDB // July 23, 2016

The last time the young singer-songwriter graced Montreal with her unique blend of indie rock was at Casa del Popolo while touring her 2014 release, Bury Me at Makeout Creek. This time around Mitski Miyawaki aka Mitski manages to sell out Bar Le Ritz PDB, along with almost ninety percent of her North America tour dates in support of the widely acclaimed Puberty 2.

Concert go-ers started to pile in, eager to get to the front of the stage for openers Jay Som and up-and-comers Japanese Breakfast. Hailing from Oregon, now based in Philadelphia. Japanese Breakfast’s frontwoman, Michelle Zauner, is not new to the music scene playing around Philly as the Little Big League. What she offered last night was a set of beautiful compositions off Psychopomp, each executed with pain and quiet anguish, speaking to the absurdity of existence and to her raw talent as a songwriter. Zauner already sets the bar high for the main act, showcasing that both Japanese Breakfast and Mitski deserve headlining shows of their own.

The room was immediately turned into a de facto confessional once Mitski hit the stage. Sing-alongs were in ample supply last night, with everyone assured waiting to hear breakout hits “Happy” and “Your Best American Girl”. A swelling energy was only amplified once Miyawaki blasted into the distortion heavy “American Girl”.

Mitski’s lyrics are melancholy without being bleak; her voice sincere and raw. On stage her songs are feats of strength, encompassing the concentrated fury in the searing anthem “Your Best American Girl” executing it with earnest fervor.

Mitski, now alone, concluded what had already proved to be an intense and emotionally draining performance, skipping the awkward silence, instead roaring into a fragile sincere encore, her words continuing to ring out, echoing throughout every corner of the venue.

review by Sean Carlin