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  • Writer's pictureEmma Egan

SHOW GALLERY + RECAP: Japanese Breakfast and Yo La Tengo at Roadrunner in Boston, MA

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Last night Japanese Breakfast continued the second leg of their Jubilee tour in Boston, MA! Here's a bit of what went down:

Yo La Tengo kicked off the night with an extended opening set, including tracks "Double Dare", "Autumn Sweater", and "Shades of Blue". Members took on shifting roles in their live performance, with Ira Kaplan and James McNew jumping from vocals to guitars, synths, and drums, as well as percussionist Georgia Hubley taking on vocals for a select set of songs. The set heavily centered around their noise-focused rock, with stripped back aesthetics that let the music itself shine. Minimal vocals furthered this effect, allowing the audience to be enveloped into their layered and complex sound. During "I Heard You Looking," the group invited Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast to close out the set with them, as well as guest guitarist Kevin Micka.

With the lights down set and a floral gong placed center stage, Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner strolled onto the stage with a mug of tea in hand and band by her side.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to write about this one; Zauner herself is a more than accomplished writer, boasting a New York Times Best Selling memoir Crying in H Mart in addition to her devastatingly poetic and vivid lyrics. It's hard to say anything about Japanese Breakfast better than she's said it herself.

Zauner has called Jubilee a celebration of joy, a step away from the grief that she herself inhabited through the loss of her mother and the insurmountable pressure of the global pandemic. The group's first release "post-pandemic," Jubilee pushes through discomfort and steps into a newfound joy. In keeping with this theme, Japanese Breakfast's set was a playful dreamscape; a reprieve from the stress and grief and anger in the world.

The world of Jubilee felt all-encompassing in their set. From the repeated gong hits in "Paprika" to dance breaks in "Be Sweet," Japanese Breakfast's set began like a technicolor dream. Even in their darker tracks, their indie pop-influence shines through alongside Zauner's warm-toned vocals. Their sound was intricate and layered, and even stronger live. Watching tracks like "Road Head" and "Posing For Cars" play out in real time is an absolute pleasure as each piece of the puzzle clicks together.

If you have the chance to check out this tour, or any by Japanese Breakfast, I can't recommend it enough. There are still quite a few dates on this run before the group wraps up the last of their North American dates this year, so be sure to check if they're stopping by a place near you!



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