My formal introduction to the world of Japanese Breakfast came last summer when Mitski rocked the Echoplex. Considering how psyched as I was to finally see Mitski live after having wanted to do so for a few years, paying proper attention to an opener can be tricky when distracted by the fever of anticipation. Michelle Zauner, a.k.a. Japanese Breakfast, isn’t just anyone, though, and she made a lasting impression with her charming support set.
Fourteen months later, Zauner was in a similar position as she headlined an impossibly sold-out show in support of tremendously acclaimed album “Soft Sounds from Another Planet.” Bringing everything full circle, Mitski herself watched from The Echo’s side stage not only for Zauner’s set, but also during blistering openers The Spirit of the Beehive and Mannequin Pussy. Although no duet ever materialized, Zauner gave props and admitted that she may have given up on music had Mitski not brought her on tour a year prior.
Drawing chiefly from “Soft Sounds from Another Planet,” Zauner and her band threaded irresistible melodies, endearing charm and unflinching honesty into a spacey, jangly pop tapestry. As proven over the course of the 14-song hour, music as loaded with feels as Japanese Breakfast’s is meant to be felt and experienced, rather than merely observed. As Zauner vocally captivated the audience and danced at the edges of the stage in light-up sneakers, the room surrendered itself one-by-one to the thrall of Japanese Breakfast and grooved along.
Curiously, the impossibly quick sellout never got bumped to a larger venue, which only strengthened the evening’s vibe as an event both monumental and a precursor of something even grander. Normally, gigs like this serve as a warmup for a larger showor forthcoming festival appearance for an ascending artist, but in the case of Japanese Breakfast, the sky’s the limit. While waiting to see where Zauner soars next, scroll below to peep our full photo gallery.
The Spirit of the Beehive
Photos and words by Frank Mojica