Asheville, North Carolina loves Mitski. And for at least one night, she loved The Orange Peel more than any other stop on her tour.
That admiration was unmistakable from the audience side early in the February 17th kickoff to the artist’s mostly sold-out world trek, when the cloth cover on a Monsters, Inc.-like prop door was removed to deafening screams, as if Mitski would pop through it any second.
A recorded message by the headliner, imploring everyone to keep their masks on for the duration of the show — seriously, folks, she’s got a lot riding on these dates — was likewise met with cheers that were resuscitated 15 or so minutes later when she and her five-piece band took to the stage. Immediately, Mitski and Co. set the mood with the one-two energetic punch of new album Laurel Hell’s “Love Me More” and “Should’ve Been Me.”
Hopping between her four most recent LPs with near equal consistency, Mitski found her every move met with adulation from the decidedly young audience. Simple pantomime, air punches, and slow spins were rewarded with wails, as attendees faithfully sang along to Bury Me at Makeout Creek standouts “Francis Forever” and “First Love / Late Spring” with cathartic abandon.
Though Mitski’s theatrics paired beautifully with Asheville’s premiere music club, her set nevertheless felt like a rehearsal for larger venues and likely would have played well in the city’s venerable Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, a space more in line size-wise with the other U.S. stops on this road trip.