Japanese Breakfast


Night Flowers open tonight at Soup Kitchen. Their sound is soft and honeyed. It reminds me of a teen movie soundtrack. They do keep the crowd enthralled and are very enjoyable to listen to as they play, but a lot of songs begin to sound very similar. Overall, their tone is poppy and fun, if sounding a little safe. They even manage to make their last song, which they remark is about the apocalypse, sound saccharine and dreamy.

Japanese Breakfast open their set with ‘Diving Women’, a warm, hazy hug of reverb coming from Michelle Zauner’s guitar, the bubble punctured and punctuated only by huge and groovy basslines. Mesmerised heads around the sold-out crowd are instantly bobbing along. It’s the first track on sophomore album Soft Sounds from Another Planet and it goes down a treat as the first song they play this evening too.

For ‘Boyish’, also off the sophomore album, it’s time to sway. A rotating white party ball lamp puts a smile on Michelle as she preludes the song by telling of missing her Prom and wanting to live the moment. It’s definitely got that quintessential, sweet 80’s high school prom feel. There is a large range of stylings during tonight’s performance: there is the quiet but beautiful ‘Triple 7′ before the vocal blast of ‘Jane Cum’ that sends shivers through my body and roots me to the floor. This hugely dynamic song is far more impressive live than it is on any of the recorded versions I have heard previously. The performance of this track tonight is the night’s biggest highlight.

When it’s announced there will only be two songs left, it’s a sad time. The show has been amazing, having been carried through a journey of reflective and personal songs, the smiles beaming from Michelle have never wavered. Even with often emotionally driven lyrical content such as “your body is a blade that moves while your brain is writhing, knuckled under pain, you mourn but your blood is flowing”, the tunes are upbeat and she has a great time playing the tracks. The penultimate song, ‘Everybody Wants to Love You’ gets a sing along from the crowd, and is one of my favourites, while ‘Machinist’ closes the set at a stratospheric high. Quite unlike any other tracks played tonight, this has a very electro-pop, sci-fi feel and kicks in with a funk laden beat. You can’t help but dance as Michelle perpetually springs and bounds around the stage along with us.

Japanese Breakfast: Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter