In celebration of her latest album release, Laurel Hell, Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski returned to live music July 26 and 27 at the Roadrunner in Boston. In 2019, the indie-rocker announced an indefinite hiatus from making music and performing. But as musicians returned to the stage after the pandemic, Mitski surprised fans with a comeback. 

Night one of her two-day Roadrunner show sold out as fans filled the empty spaces of the general admission floor and balcony. Even before she took the stage, the room was booming from the squeals of an audience eager to hear her voice ring from the speakers. Once the lights dimmed and a soft instrumental tune played, Mitski slowly strutted out on stage, every eye in the room trained on her in awe. 

Anyone familiar with Mitski knows she’s much more than meets the ear. Her music is soft and powerful all at once, offering an array of emotion through voice and instrumental ballads. But her presence is an entirely different experience: A colorful performance delivered through intricate body and facial expressions. Seeing a Mitski show is like attending the opera. She uses dance, movement and pure emotion to tell the story of her songs. One could be fully entertained and moved by just watching her, but her voice and layered indie-pop influences bring it all together. 

Start with Mitski’s song Love Me More, and you might hear how she allows her voice to guide listeners softly to the chorus, where the tempo increases and the power in her vocals builds as her emotions boil over. 

Pay attention to the tempo. The presence of keys and synth give it a video game feel—or it could accompany the closing credits of an action-packed anime. 

Keep up with Mitski and her tour dates here

Kendall Polidori is The Rockhound, Luckbox’s resident rock critic. Follow her reviews on Instagram and Twitter @rockhoundlb.