Concert Review: Mitski - Local Wolves


Mitski’s most recent and seventh studio album, The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We, sounds different than anything she’s released thus far. The album touches on themes such as loneliness, overindulgence, love and loss. This album sounds different from her sixth studio album, Laurel Hell, which many people thought would be her last. Mitski has been open about her complicated relationship with fame and the way people consume her music and treat her as an artist. She never wanted to stop making music but wanted to be away from the spotlight and with her record contract expiring, it seemed like she would be gone for a long time if not for good. The release of her seventh album and accompanying tour was a sweet surprise to fans and she reminds us that she’s just a person like the rest of us on this album: “You’re an angel / I’m a dog / Or you’re a dog / And I’m your man / You believe me like a god / And I destroy you like I am.” 

While Laurel Hell was full of pop sounds and 80’s synths, The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We takes clear inspiration from country, ballads and more. Mitski carefully inhabits and tells the stories of many different characters on this most recent album: a bug at the bottom of a glass, a lover and a friend missing their late friend, a bird sitting on a streetlight. The clear theme of the album is the importance of love, whether she feels it or feels the absence of it. She takes us on a journey, from around America on a train through the Midwest where the buffalos used to live then all the way to the moon where she imagines her love shining down.

The power of love and loss sung lyrically through The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We was also visually communicated through her latest tour of the album which I was lucky enough to be able to see at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on February 28th. This is the third time I’ve seen Mitski on tour and each show blows me away in a new way. Mitski is known for her choreography at live shows and she’s able to communicate the depth and sincerity of her music visually as well as lyrically. When Mitski performs her own songs, you feel the themes of the album in a deeper, new way. As she was performing, the entire audience sat quietly watching an artist do her work. Watching a beautiful performance like this feels more transcendent in a venue like Kings Theatre. The theater, which was built in 1929, is full of beautiful interior designs which were inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Paris Opera House. The ceilings and walls are filled with gold detailing and designs and there are regal red curtains, making it feel like you’re transported to a different time or place in the world. It feels like you could be in a church service, hearing the violin and choir singing and hearing Mitski sing lyrics like “I try to remember that the wrath of the devil / Was also given him by God.” 

The Land Is Inhospitable And So Are We transforms between the intense feelings of love, loss, longing, tiredness, which is how real life feels and makes each song feel so relatable. The album is an emotional reminder that life can throw you in every direction but at the end of the day, love is the only thing that matters. Mitski’s lyricism plus her one of a kind performances solidify her as one of the most important artists of our lifetime. 

Words & Collage Art: Jessica Spiers

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