Berlin’s Lido has a calmly decadent feel to it. It’s a stripped back set up: the stage bordered by floor-to-ceiling red velvet and littered with exposed-bulb lamps that occasionally match swells in sound with a flood of light. It’s reminiscent of the black lodge from Twin Peaks and filled with the desired ambience for any kind of womb-like cave to hide away from the world. The latter is a realm that Mitski’s music often occupies, and the 26-year-old indie sensation looks every bit celestial as she takes her place under a blue spotlight.
Mitski gets it. Penetrating your soul with the perils of 20-something life, last year’s breakthrough album Puberty 2 acted as a medium for the universal truths of a quarter-life crisis: the awkward dance of fucking up, feeling lost, and getting on with it. Her work is often a little too close for comfort, like she’s peeked into your brain and mapped out your own rampant anxieties. Accompanied by her band for a stop in a seemingly unending European tour, the doting crowd hang on her every word like they know, with songs like Once More To See You and I Bet On Losing Dogs having a hypnotic effect.
“You like that?” she jokes as they tease the intro of much-loved hit Your Best American Girl during a lively first half. At one point Mitski says goodbye to her band and takes the stage solo. The bulbs lose their light and the backdrop darkens. A couple next to me are locked in an embrace, eyes closed, as Mitski begins A Burning Hill (“Tonight I will wear my white button down, I’m tired of wanting more, I think I’m finally worn”). It’s stunning, her voice agonisingly beautiful in a way that’s sometimes obscured on record. She thrashes through My Body’s Made Of Crushed Little Stars and back to the haunting existentialism of Last Words of a Shooting Star. Closing out with Class of 2013, where Mitski pines for a womb-like retreat of her own, its final refrain seems to linger in the crowd: “Mom, am I still young? Can I dream for a few months more?”