Mitski review – an emotional Tough Mudder of indie rock

Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
The Japanese-American singer-songwriter gives a conceptual art performance and full body workout along with her compelling laments of lust, loneliness and death

Stony-faced US singer-songwriter Mitski fixes a reverent, sold out crowd with a stare. One of the most significant new talents to come out of what you might loosely call “indie rock” (there are riffing guitars, but that’s not the whole picture) the 28-year-old stands stock-still behind a mic stand.

You notice with delight she is wearing a white long-sleeved shirt – Mitski has a moving song, A Burning Hill, in which she wears “a white button-down”, to appear neat and in control as an annihilating inferno is raging in-song. Behind her is arrayed a four-piece band: usually performing from behind a guitar, tonight she’s unencumbered. Then you notice the kneepads.

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