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Mitski - A multisensory experience, live at O2 Apollo Manchester

On Wednesday the 1st of May Mitski began her first night of two at the O2 Apollo in Manchester which I was lucky enough to see. The show, part of the “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” world tour, was one of the gigs I was looking forward to this year as Mitski is an artist who knows how to perform. 


Mitski crafts a vibrant soundscape in her music, it's a world unto itself, teeming with life. Through her performances, she invites us into this realm, sharing the emotional currents, movements, colours, and vivid imagery that course through it. 


Choreographed by Monica Mirabile you could tell Mitski was having fun. The movements were sometimes playful, sometimes melancholic, but they always added to the song. On the stage Mitski ensures her performance transcends the moment, becoming an experience all its own. She can transform two chairs or a beam of light to become actors in the song or dance partners. The night truly soared during  Heaven,  a sweeping romance track, ending the song by swaying with the light beam as if it were alive before stepping into it. It was a simple stage setup but paired with the big orchestral finish it was a powerful finish to the romantic song. 



Mitski's band wasn't just backing her up, they were stars in their own right. They wielded an impressive arsenal of instruments – double bass, accordion, triangle, a full percussion section, pedal steel, and even a fiddle! This variety created a sonic tapestry that shifted and evolved throughout the set. Their talent was undeniable, captivating the audience with a masterful performance.


Another standout for me was  My Love , not only one of Mitski's most viral songs but one of the best visuals of the show. During the song, broken copper pieces floated down from the lighting rig resembling at first petals floating off of a tree, but once settled they acted like a mirror ball reflecting the light into the crowd. This matched with the lyrics being sung “moon a hole of light, through the big top tent up high…shining’ down on me” the funnel of light encompassing Mitski just like the night she describes.


I have to give a shoutout to Mitski's roadie! They were amazing, possibly the best-dressed roadie I've ever seen. Seamlessly taking care of props between songs, all while looking sharp in a bow tie and suit!


Seated gigs are a rarity for me, especially for a popular artist like Mitski, but the seating resulted in a respectful and quiet crowd, a welcome change from the bad gig etiquette I've encountered at recent shows. Stepping out of the venue, I wasn't sure if I'd just been to a concert or witnessed a theatrical masterpiece. The entire taxi ride home was spent dissecting every choice – the staging, the subtle dance moves, the masterful shifts in musical direction. Each element had me utterly entranced, leaving me with a show I wouldn't soon forget.


For anyone catching the rest of Mitski's "The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We" tour across the UK, Europe, and the US, I can't recommend it highly enough. Her shows are unlike anything else out there! 

 

WORDS & PHOTOS KATE LEATHER

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