Review: Everybody Wants to Love Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is one of those bands that I’ve been dying to see since forever ago, but never got the chance to. So, when I heard the news of them coming to perform in Chicago for 312 Day, I knew that I had one of two choices – to miss out on tickets and cry about it for another few decades or to, you know, actually see them this time. The latter seemed like the better and less painful choice. That being said, I’m proud and very happy to share that I was finally able to see Japanese Breakfast perform live; a sold out show and one that took place at one of my favorite Chicago venues, Thalia Hall, and they did not disappoint. From the moment they stepped foot on stage, Japanese Breakfast was like a comet, bursting at its seams with vibrant energy. The band’s frontwoman, Michelle Zauner, was not only boisterous and unfiltered, but also incredibly charming. Early set highlights included performances of “Road Head,” “The Body is a Blade,” “The Woman That Loves You,” and “Boyish.” With each song, Zauner jumped atop of speakers, danced across stage, reached out to interact with the audience, and jammed on her guitar. Despite being at a fairly large venue, I felt that the band’s show still maintained the sense of intimacy as it would on smaller stage. Just as this show was a first for me, Zauner experienced a first too. Zauner experienced her first taste of Malört at the show. Unsurprisingly, the drink was met with mixed feelings and much regret from her. Honestly? Relatable. Slowing things down a notch, Zauner took a moment to perform some of her more down-tempo tracks. She and one other bandmate performed acoustic versions of “Triple 7” and “This House,” two of my personal favorite songs by the band. Zauner’s powerful voice and stage presence alone were unbelievably captivating. I, along with the rest of the audience, were entranced, unable to turn away from the stage. Bringing things back to speed, the band rejoined the stage and performed “Jane Cum” and “Everybody Wants to Love You.” Ending the night with a two-song encore, the band wrapped up their set with a cover of “Dreams” by The Cranberries and “Machinist.” Zauner jumped into the arms of her fans for the finale of “Machinist,” crowd surfing above the crowd and straight into everyone’s hearts. Japanese Breakfast’s concert was a roller coaster of emotions. From the highs of excitement from the band’s fun, danceable tracks to the sobering pensiveness of Zauner’s lyrics, the night was cathartic and overall magical. I can’t wait to see them perform again.
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Pearl Shin