The Land Is Inhospitable and So Is My Love for Mitski

The Land Is Inhospitable and So Is My Love for Mitski

Photo Credit: Caroline Switkowsi 

A concert review 

Caroline Switkowski, Associate Arts Editor 

Mitsuki Miyawaki, also known by her stage name “Mitski,” is a Japanese-American singer with seven studio albums. She is currently on a world tour promoting her latest release The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, and I was lucky enough to see her on one of her four shows in Toronto. I’ve been a big fan of Mitski since 2020, so finally being able to see her was a dream come true — especially after losing the lottery to her intimate show back in September. Nonetheless, my inner angsty teen self is here and ready to tell you all about the show. 


I’m always a fan of openers for concerts to get the crowds ready for the main act, though I seldom am a big enough fan to listen to their music afterward. The opener for Mitski, however, broke this streak. Tamino is a Belgian-Egyptian singer who has a voice like no other: it was hypnotic, and I was honestly disappointed by how short his set was. My favourite song he performed was “Habibi,” in which he took inspiration from his roots and used an atmospheric tone for the bridge. Listening to his setlist now, I prefer his live voice! You can’t display that level of pain in the studio — when mixed with his live acoustic guitar, it melted into a symphony. The only thing that disappointed me during his set was when one audience member meowed at him. Despite his discomfort, he handled it fairly well. Evidently, Tamino had set the bar high for the concert, and I was dying to see Mitski at this point. 


First of all, I’m a seasoned concertgoer. Not to flex but, as I write this, I’ve been to around 12 shows in the past year — I even went to Montreal last March just to see the band Muse. Mitski stands out completely from any artist I’ve seen. She is elegant and angelic, and her voice brings out emotions — a lot of them.  

The concert opened with Mitski bathed in white light and fog, following a folk rendition of her song “Everyone.” At first, the folk rendition caught me off guard, but had a soothing element when paired with her live band. I will complain and say I painfully wish she didn’t use a folk rendition for her song “Pink in the Night,” which I felt fit a more serious tone, rather than a country one, and severely opposed the rest of her setlist. Nonetheless, Mitski is a performer like no other, as she uses butoh, a Japanese avant-garde style of dance theater, to communicate the lyrics to her songs. For example, she would bring her hands up and block her face during her song “Working for the Knife,” symbolizing her pushing away evil of sorts. These repetitive and eccentric moves are a beautiful artistic companion to her stage performance considering the depressing imagery laced throughout her discography, with themes of damaged relationships, personal reflection, and learning to live day by day. Funnily enough, these themes were mixed in with banter with the audience about why she can’t move to Toronto (her cat is a Texan at heart) and how she’s suffering through the curry she ate to perform for us. 

Her latest release The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We dives into finding a safe space in an ever-changing world, grasping at signs of hope in a so-called free realm. By the end of the concert, I was in a daze and was shocked by how moved I felt. Mitski’s music is for those who wish to be vulnerable, process the turbulence in their lives, and to be alone with their thoughts. Overall, this concert was my favourite out of all the ones I’ve attended, and I truly hope this review creates a new fan or two. Happy listening!