Booked as a Valentine’s Day show sponsored by Jukely,
100% aka the avant-garde performance project of Elaiza of the band Crying was one of the more unexpected highlights of the night. First performing a track acapella, was soon backed by Shannon Brooks, and two audience members to do a piece on YouTube celebrating it’s 11th birthday yesterday. However, the conversation lead into Elaiza expressing discontent with the DIY scene, comparing it to YouTube and it’s similar amount of influence and the idea of integrity surrounding it. Mostly, taking shots at publications like Deli Mag in a parody of the Fugees “Killing Me Softly.” Although, coming from the same music scene as Mitski, having also attended SUNY Purchase, the singer found a more welcoming community in expressing sentiments of catharsis on-stage.
Northampton singer Mal Devisa (aka Deja Carr) began with her track “Daisy” off her first EP. Though admittedly suffering from some nerves, the set was still as powerful as when she played the more intimate settings during CMJ. With a bass, kick drum, a loop pedal, a MIDI keyboard, and her commanding voice, Mal Devisa sounds like an entire band with just one person on stage with an entire wall of sound. At the most bare moments, the soulfulness of her vocals shot over the rhythmic, moody chords. One of the integral tenets aside from her distinctly DIY approach to music, is her stance against oppression, whether on a larger societal level or even confronting microaggressions as she does in her freestyle. Halfway through the track “Judy Bloom”, requested by an audience member, Carr says “I’m just gonna be upfront right now, this song is about white feminism.” In her freestyles, she even tackles punk culture with the line “I’m Bad Brains, you’re Sonic Youth I’m just telling you the honest truth.”
Stepping on stage in her “Worst Behavior” sweater, Mitski arrived armed with only an acoustic guitar and her smooth, siren-like vocals warming up in solfege before going into the track “American Girl.” While the track hasn’t been released yet, Mitski understood the more close-knit environment of her Valentine’s Day set. With “Bury Me At Make Out Creek” released late in 2014, the singer has been leaning more and more towards newer material in live shows as of late. Coming off a full-band tour with Palehound and PWR BTTM, the sets feature more intricate arrangements with “Drunk Walk Home” and the emotionally raw “Class of 2013.” As an acoustic show, the more considered choice to remove some of those tracks from the set made for a more stripped down evening. Some of the major tracks on “Make Out Creek” like “Townie” and “First Love/Late Spring” became sing-alongs of heartbroken singles and some couples making the odd choice to come to her show on Valentine’s Day. An experience to which Mitski likened “Coming to my show on Valentine’s Day with your significant other is like watching ‘Blue Valentine’.” Though her sets have been more reputable for her two ending songs “Class of 2013” and “Last Words of A Shooting Star”, her Knitting Factory show saw Mitski playing the latter before walking off-stage and performing an encore with “Burning Hill”, a track she released on her Tumblr that unexpectedly gained significant attention before she took it down. Similarly, she expressed dissent on playing these new tracks live saying “I hope no one was recording that” as she’s still in the preliminary stages of her upcoming fourth record. While the tracks may sound similar to her previous material, due to the live setup but the studio arrangements may find to take on an entirely different character as seen by Mitski’s ability to breathe a new life into songs in performance.
American Girl (New Song)
First Love – Late Spring
Once More (New Song)
I Don’t Smoke
Geyser (Unreleased Song)
Last Words of A Shooting Star
(Song released through her Tumblr)