A headlining show with Mitski at Houston’s own White Oak Music Hall definitely brought on some vintage ‘90s prom vibes. The Wednesday evening set was particularly intimate, because Mitski recently announced that she would be taking an indefinite hiatus from live performances after this tour, and the stans were out in full force to pay tribute.

The evening’s support, Dilly Dally, started the night off with some authentic retro-alternative grunge. The vocalist even jammed the set with a broken guitar string, aided by her on-point eerie whisper vocals and chaotic screams.

Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Stans

There was a mix of extremely young concertgoers and former gen-X’ers who now identified as millennials. I’m sure a mish-mash of targeted algorithm Facebook campaigns had their part in the audience makeup. While the crowd makeup was diverse, there was a unified intention that brought everyone together.

Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Stage

Some type of lounge jazz played in anticipation for Mitski. The band and herself were dressed pretty casually, while the openers all dressed in dresses and skirts in feminist solidarity.

Mitski location on stage would morph and develop as the night went on, starting off hard stage left but later settling in the center straddled across a white IKEA desk. This became a focal point as the singer paraded around the stage in bouts of well-placed theatrics.

Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Setlist

  • “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart”
  • “Why Didn’t You Stop Me?”
  • “Old Friend”
  • “Francis Forever”
  • “Dan the Dancer”
  • “Washing Machine Heart”
  • “I Will”
  • “I Don’t Smoke”
  • “First Love / Late Spring”
  • “Geyser”
  • “Townie”
  • “Nobody”
  • “Liquid Smooth”
  • “A Pearl”
  • “Thursday Girl”
  • “Lonesome Love”
  • “Your Best American Girl”
  • “I Bet on Losing Dogs”
  • “Drunk Walk Home”
  • “Happy”

Encore:

  • “A Burning Hill (solo)”
  • “Two Slow Dancers”
Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Standouts

The opener, Dilly Dally, set the bar high, but Mitski and band crushed it. Starting off with a forlorn recording of a Spanish ballad, the group’s anthemic music marched onward into the abyss. The audience knew almost every word of the set, and the slight ring of the acapella was audible throughout the evening.

The set transitioned smoothly and almost cinematically, capturing a unique feeling or atmosphere that was then beamed into the mind of the audience. Mitski commanded the stage with her presence, dancing a theatric ballet that at times bordered on fitness aerobics as she delivered the performance. At other times she paraded around like an empress or a politician, embodying a form of living royalty.

Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Sign-Off

Mitski presented as an indie starlet turned pop star in both sound and aesthetic. There were intimate moments that reflected the atmosphere of a closing show, as it will likely be a while before she is active on the road again.

If anything, she was very meditative and broadcast her love for her fans, taking opportunities throughout tell them that they are loved.

Photo by Karo Cantu.

The Score: ♥♥♥♥