As the crowd gathered to see Michelle Zauner (aka Japanese Breakfast) on a chilly night (Jan 18, 2019) in Brooklyn, I couldn’t help but think how fast her rise has been. This indie artist went from opening for other bands and playing Baby’s All Right in 2016 to playing Warsaw last year to selling out these two shows at Brooklyn Steel! Perhaps her dedicated fan base is due to her personal and heartfelt lyrics; perhaps it’s the joy she evidences when she performs energetically around the stage. Either way, whether she can believe it or not, she’s a star!
Opening for Japanese Breakfast for both nights at Brooklyn Steel was Hand Habits (Meg Duffy). Her sad and melancholy melodies were mesmerizing and she was an eye opener for me. For one tune, fellow label artist Tomberlin (Sarah Beth Tomberlin) joined her for a duet.
Following Hand Habits was WHY, an indie rock band out of Cincinnati. Playing in mostly shadows, vocalist Yoni Wolf and his fellow bandmates had the crowd jamming and bouncing throughout their set. They are currently working on a new album so stay tuned!
Japanese Breakfast kicked off their set to a roar from the capacity crowd. Zauner was decked out in a fun white dress that brought prom night to mind. For this tour, she was supported by a full ensemble of not only guitar, bass and drums but a string section, trumpet and saxophone. Zauner played songs from her full catalog, sometimes with childhood photos projected in the background. Her setup and stage presence have definitely evolved. After closing out her set with “Everybody Wants to Love You,” she came back for an encore with a Flaming Lips cover “Race for the Prize” and the finale, “Diving Woman.” I’m looking forward to see where Japanese Breakfast goes from here. After all, it’s been 18 months…we’re eagerly awaiting new music!!
Article: Howard Shiau