During Cassandra Jenkins’ most recent stop at Johnny Brenda’s, just two weeks ago, she regaled the audience with tales of her recent UK tour supporting Mitski and realizing that waves of fans fainting in Beatlemania fashion had become about as common as Morrissey stage invasions for shows of the indie pop singer/songwriter who, at 31, has already seemed to have reached legendary status. So, it was not a total shock that last Sunday, at Franklin Music Hall, Mitski actually opened her set with a public service announcement about several locations around the venue where fans could go for water and seating without being harassed by staff, if they felt particularly faint…
… And while it’s unclear just how many of the 2,500 packed into the sweaty factory were actually able to remain on their feet all night, without concern for not being able to stay through the encore, the warehouse venue never felt less than full or less than electrified throughout the 90-minute, nearly-career-spanning set from the icon, who has admitted to being uneasy with the profundity of her stardom. However, her epic performance style would seem to embrace the spectrum of her feelings in a more beautifully and poignantly theatrical way than any other serious musician of the past decade that comes to mind, finding her literally prancing back and forth across the stage for much of the show.
The 22-song set featured more than half of Mitski’s latest – Laurel Hell, released this February – along with several tracks from her previous four (Sophomore album, Retired from Sad, New Career in Business featured only one entry, with “Goodbye, My Danish Sweetheart.), and the audience seemed to treasure every single one as a gem perfectly fit for soundtracking a particularly striking moment in their (for the most part) young lives.
Mitski-mania ensued across the vast floor, the rafters in the back were packed like those of a highschool football field for the championship game, and even the balcony bar remained nearly empty, with the majority of 21+ fans hanging over the railings to attempt to catch a glimpse of their most beloved storyteller, which were admittedly hard to come by from that portion of the venue. While the fan favorites seemed to be 2018’s “Washing Machine Heart” and 2014’s “First Love / Late Spring” (whose lyrics are emblazoned across BFF’s abdomen) – which were each played during the first-third of the set — it was “Your Best American Girl,” her arguably most epic and biting number (and possibly pop music’s greatest post-aughts ballad) that provided the definitive highlight of the evening, along with its most tears.