Japanese Breakfast ~ Show Review
Photos (unless otherwise noted) and Article By: Lauren Royer
There was a buzz in the Wonder Ballroom as we entered, while a very Indie sounding supporting band played on the stage. After a few head bopping tunes, the headlining act appeared. Suddenly, it felt like I had been transported back in time as Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner began hypnotizing the crowd. Live and intimate performances with actual live instruments, have become increasingly rare in a world dominated by electronic beats and DJ tables. Before attending the show, I had doused myself in some live streams of their performances. I knew I was in for a polished yet raw performance.
While uniquely their own sound, the closest related artist would be “The Cranberries”. They’ve actually done a haunting cover of a Cranberries song. It is because of that influence, one could feel the 90’s grunge and sultry female vocals when listening. I will repeat again, while they sound nostalgic, Japanese Breakfast is unique in their sound. The most stellar part of their performance was how real and perfectly comfortable their stage performance was. Zauner sang with integrity and even during slow, emotional songs (which usually turn a crowd off), everyone stayed hooked to her every note.
Japanese Breakfast released their first studio album only two years ago and have been picking up the pace with performances on NPR’s ‘Tiny Desk Concerts’, Pitchfork Music Festival, KEXP, a second album release last year, a US tour, and a tour through Spain starting next year.
Beyond the performance, Zauner was candid with her audience by sharing personal stories. Stories of being kicked out of strip clubs during her Bachelorette party and how humbling it felt performing in Portland since the band originated from nearby college town; Eugene. The artist has depth, warmth, strength, and a true gift. From Korean and Jewish descent, her goal is to influence more Asian-Americans to make music. We walked away feeling connected to her mission and her songs still playing in our minds. Whether repeating history or defining it, it was a special performance that I will not soon forget.