still in the fucking midwest (abt seeing PWR BTTM & mitski in columbus, OH)

IMG_1687Just like the last time I tried to do a mitski concert write up, I’m sitting down to write and just coming up with this:

kittnsI don’t know how to write about music since I can only incoherently gush about feelings, but here’s a shot:

The show started with PWR BTTM, an incredibly self deprecating, incredibly funny, energetic act. Ben (the usually-guitarist, although in the photos on here, he was the drummer) had this blue glitter lipstick on and ran around off the stage during the show, which was super fun as like, a show experience etc, especially because we scooted straight up to the front.

PWR BTTMThe primary thing I really liked about their music was the sense of sincerity that came through in the songs — just listening to them play and feeling like I was curled up on the ground going “saaaaaame” (but, y’know, emotionally). Not to mention their music is just fun to listen to; having a good beat and instrumental portions backing up  even the moodiest of lyrics makes for music that just feels good. In my opinion, it’s music that manages to bring out intense or even painful emotions but still somehow feel good/cathartic that makes it worthwhile.

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I regret to say that after PWR BTTM hopped offstage, I ducked outside to have a break from noise and people and missed out on Palehound, so I don’t have a lot to report on that part of the show. I have a love/hate relationship with going to events like this (and this was better than most because it was in a tiny bar with not a ton of people) because I love hearing live music but oh my god I get so overwhelmed just existing in public. I tried to go to pitchfork music fest in Chicago over the summer specifically to see Sleater-Kinney, which was a tremendous waste of time and energy and money because I full out lost my shit and made the friend I went with leave with me because I hate that feeling where your chest and stomach get so tight it’s like they might just turn into their own proprietary black holes.

mitski

There’s a really big difference in PWR BTTM and Mitski respective stage presences — Mitski is very soft spoken (and tremendously nice whenever people come up to her at shows), and the performance is very much about the music. It makes for a very emotional show, and there were definitely songs during her show where you could just hear everybody in the audience singing under their breath so it’s just this added layer of sound — so many people there knew all of the words, and like back in the Grand Rapids show in July you can really tell who is excited to be there and like see that it means a lot to somebody to hear those songs live.

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She also played a new song (!!!), as well as pausing partway through to give a shoutout to the people of color who came to the show, because it was definitely a predominately white space and she wanted to make a point to acknowledge that it’s frequently very uncomfortable and requires a lot of energy to be in spaces like that. To say I think it was really cool that she did that is an understatement. Recently she’s tweeted about race/activism a little bit (tweets below) — there are a lot of issues where the whole feeling of needing to have a certain amount of information or legitimacy in order to deserve a platform is relevant, but I also think that the act of living in a certain space or body or whatever can be important to listen to, regardless of how “complete” the discussion that comes out of it feels. When people have privilege in an area, I think they get defensive and try to argue it away, but that’s not constructive — shut up and listen, stop focusing on shifting blame away from yourself and actually try to unpack the systems that are in place that affect other people’s lives instead, and don’t just passively let your friends or acquaintances or w/e act in ways that are harmful. Which is why I think it’s important to listen to lived experiences and recognize context, etc.


Anyway, even as someone who does not identify as an activist, I thought that was a really good way of addressing race issues at her shows/in the music industry.

On a lighter note, I also thought it was really cool that she remembered that we (aka Britt, Tré, Amanda, I) came to Columbus from northern Indiana to see the show. It was 3 hours each way, which is right up on the edge of my personal border for “no not worth it” single day travel time. Last week I crawled out of this trashstate to go to St. Louis for my birthday, because I will take any excuse to go anywhere I haven’t been before, but I’m also reaaaaaally sick of putting tons of money/effort into travel and still being in the damn midwest, meaning in a way we might as well have never left. (Like, fuck you if you live on the coasts and shit on the middle of the country but also: I am so sick of seeing people just like casually having guns at the grocery store, come on that makes everybody so uncomfortable.) But that’s life or whatever and it was exciting to get that personal interaction with an artist at a show.

xoxo,
rori

p.s. all of the pictures in this post were taken by my babe Tré, whose very cat & nintendo-centric instagram can be found here, @trefelidae. Otherbabe Amanda covered this on her blog, also!

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