Mitski – Gorilla, Manchester – 19th September 2018

Secret Meeting score: 95

by Paddy Kinsella

While Mitski’s initial transformation from releasing piano-based records to picking up a guitar and striking out on breakthrough album – Bury Me at Makeout Creek – may have been drastic, her metamorphose from 2016’s pensive yet powerful Puberty 2 to the louche swagger of 2018’s Be The Cowboy is somehow even more compelling.

This transformation comes across even louder in the live arena, though she herself may be quieter having dropped the guitar purely to focus on vocal duties. The frenetic strum from Mitski of old has been replaced by cocksure strides, atypical hand movements and even a boob lift, this particular move occurs during Nobody, when Mitski casually brings her hand into her body and lifts her breast up and down to the cheers of her adoring crowd.

The Japanese-American artist skilfully balances old and new during her set, adapting her older songs so that they seamlessly blend into her 25-track set. Everything is a prop for Mitski tonight: the stage she uses to prowl manically around during Why Didn’t You Stop Me, the microphone she uses as a way to hold herself while doing the splits in Your Best American Girl, and even her hair comes in use when she thrashes her head up and down to perform dramatic bows in Geyser.

Making a live show for an album as good as Be The Cowboy was never going to be easy but Mitski, as with everything she does, has produced something well beyond our expectations. Right now, she truly is a visionary right at the top of her game.

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