Back in 2019 after two successive tours following a massive LP, Be The Cowboy, Mitski took a step back from touring to focus on her own self. But time and distance has a way of changing perspective, and soon songs started to work their way back out again. With a global pandemic that put the brakes on touring, that focus ended up creating the brilliant Laurel Hell, with its name taken from thickets of rhododendron bushes that sprout white fragrant blossoms in the summer heat but are toxic. And that mirrors the complexity on the album of the same name.
Over the break between albums and touring, Mitski also found herself in the strange world of TikTok and videos that have highlighted works like “Washing Machine” and “Nobody” from Be The Cowboy, creating a groundswell of new fans that sing along to every word. And this was no more evident than at the second of two sold-out performances at The Anthem Monday night.