Indie pop priestess Michelle Zauner, AKA Japanese Breakfast, played a free show at Central Park’s Summerstage, and it proved to be the perfect incantation for an enchanting evening in the park. She has been touring what seems to be non-stop for the last couple years after back-to-back albums with 2016’s Psychopomp and 2017’s Soft Sounds from Another Planet, but after a draught of new stuff she recently released new singles for the original “Essentially” and the cover of Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels,” and she’s also been teasing more like adding a new song “In Hell” to her show’s setlist. Clearly this sorceress has only begun to dazzle, as she spellbound the audience with a lively and passionate show.
Opening the show was a fresh breakout Aussie artist Harriette Pilbeam, better known as Hatchie, and she proved herself to once again to be a real potent pop virtuoso in her own right. I’ve already seen her open for bands like Alvvays, Girlpool, and Men I Trust in just the last year, while her debut EP Sugar & Spice easily ranked as one my favorite releases of the whole year, but now she’s already released her debut full-length LP Keepsake just a couple days before the show, and this talented prodigy has clearly also only just begun to shine. She lets her ridiculously catchy musical gems do their own talking, as she doesn’t do a lot of jumping around the stage or engage in pop star antics on stage, but what she rejects in diva showmanship, she excels in with pure untainted talent. This is extremely talented artist who you’d be smart to be on the lookout for this shooting star.
Zauner has only been recording for about a decade, but she performs like a seasoned pro, as she commands a stage with a fierce joy and enthusiasm that is really quite remarkable. She first started in the music World fronting the emo band Little Big League, but after having to take some time off to go back home to take care of her sick Mom, she first premiered as a solo artist only a couple years back, and to see this creative musician rise to the top of the indie pop world in what seems like the blink of an eye. On top of old and new songs, her setlist also contained surprises like cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” a cool poster being given out to the first several hundred people to get into the park, and an expanded band lineup complete with a string quartet and some horns thrown in to be used in some surprising ways. Zauner jumped from keys, to guitar, to bouncing around the stage in giant combat boots while singing some of the finest melodies in modern alternative music, and that is some magic I’ll always come back to be bewitched by.
Article: Dean Keim