The Grog Shop in Cleveland, Ohio
Photos & Words by Sophie Minello
There was a nice crowd waiting outside the Grog Shop before Mitski's sold out Tuesday night show. As everyone flooded in the venue, you could tell it was going to be a good night. Half Waif took the stage with a bang... literally. All I can recall is a cymbal crashing to the ground when a member accidentally knocked it down as the band emerged from backstage, which surely grabbed the crowd's attention. Frontwoman Nandi Rose Plunkett walked to her keyboard laughing and announced that she hoped that the most embarrassing moment of the set was over with. Nandi is the kind of person with an infectious smile and stage presence. I watched in wonder as the band played, seeming to have transported me into a whole new world. Through the movements of her hands and the expressions on her face, the way Nandi truly feels the music is so beautifully evident. It was hard not to fall in love with Half Waif after their performance.
After Half Waif came Australian singer Julia Jacklin. She took the stage alone, with only her voice and a guitar, but still the audience was captivated. Julia's set was more stripped back than Half Waif, so everyone swayed and let Julia's music float around them.
Finally, Mitski emerged. Everyone cheered happily as the band went into their first song. If you listened closely throughout the set, you could hear the crowd singing along the whole time, softly following the melodies of Mitski's voice. I was struck with how graceful and powerful her voice could be, delicate while at the same time grabbing your attention. I looked around the room and saw lovers in each others arms, friends smiling and singing together, and knew Mitski was doing something right. At the end of the night, her bandmates exited the stage and she picked up a guitar. With just her on stage, her closing songs became so much more personal. The show may have been sold out, but Mitski made sure to make if feel intimate and close.