Mitski at Wonder Ballroom 04.09.17

Mitski Miyawaki has taken the world by storm with her recent album Puberty 2, reaching critical acclaim and praise for her lyrical and vocal delivery. The show sold-out, proving Mitski as a must-see. Portland was blessed with a wonderful performance and two kickass openers.

The show began with a very charming Steady Holiday in a flamboyant, bedazzled pink suit asking the audience, “Do I look more like a magician or Dolly Parton?”
She presented sharp vocals while playing her instruments, radiating peace and joy. In between songs she chuckled to herself, “You guys didn’t know you were coming to a karaoke show, did ya?”

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Steady Holiday

Following Steady Holiday was Kadhja Bonet, a divine blend of soul and indie pop. Flowing rhythms hung purposefully on each silky note. She demonstrated an impressive range, wistful yet ready to bite when needed. The thread of nostalgia throughout each performance became apparent when Kadhja announced that her childhood best friend was in the audience. She continued singing, hitting pleasant high notes along the experimental jazz and soulful compositions, filling the room with a dreamy ambiance.

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Kadhja Bonet

Mitski’s performance was organized chaos, ranging from soft minimalist moments to explosive energy. Starting with “Dan the Dancer” and transitioning to “Once More to See You”, she set the soundscape for the whole show- a satisfying rollercoaster of dark and electric jamming to poetic and soft crooning. Mitski impressively straddles the line of atmospheric grungy sharpness and delicate ambiance. I often found myself searching for the balance between thrashing around or wiping tears.

The best example of this ability was seen in the last three songs. Excusing her band, we were left with just Mitski and her guitar. “A Burning Hill” set a level of intimacy for the crowd, low and bleak then spiking with fervor into “My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars”. Each song was emotionally charged. It was difficult not to resonate as the shadow of our own past experiences with love and loneliness emanated while we bobbed and sang along with our hearts out.

 

She encored with “Class of 2013”, a lovely nightcap tune. Lingering and fluid at the start,  she passionately screamed into the pickups of her guitar like a duet. Mitski’s voice was prominent and deliberate through the entire show, pleading with sadness from combating past desires and memories. Yet, a vicious happiness can be found breaking through the complexity of her performance and music.


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