Japanese Breakfast – The Joker – 2nd November 2017

A transient artist who knows how to keep music feeling fresh, Japanese Breakfast are very much a group at the top of their game. Now commencing on their worldwide Atlantic tour, this Brooklyn name fronted by the fantastic Michelle Zauner may be far from home, but have been welcomed into Brighton with open arms.

Opening tonight are Night Flowers, who bring some of the most chilled out, ambient vibes I’ve seen in a long while. Their presence is great and their sound is something else! For those of you who are big on either the likes of Wolf Alice or Penelope Isles, Night Flowers are definitely a name who are worth putting on your playlists and one I’m sure we’ll continue to see popping up around the Brighton scene.

As Japanese Breakfast enter the stage, The Joker reaches its capacity, this is done to such an extent that some are unable to see the stage, crammed up in the foyer area! Whilst it does show that the hype for this band is justifiably otherworldly, The Joker seriously need to get it together in hosting larger shows. Nonetheless, as soon as the band begin it’s clear just why they are capable of filling a room so far from home. Opening with ‘Diving Woman’, the stunning vocals and lyricism from Michelle floods the speakers and generates a sound which is truly euphoric enough to lose yourself in.

The room are clearly ecstatic for the set and every song is met by a torrent of enthusiasm and satisfaction. At one point the venue was so tightly packed and hot that one member of the audience passed out! Whilst toning down the vibe a little, the incident was dealt with professionally and safely, so for that I have nothing but respect for the band and staff on hand. In amongst the chaos the music only keeps flowing with ‘Road Head’ the leading single from the band’s new record Soft Sounds From Another Planet. All of the material from the new album has been received incredibly well and it’s clear from the eagerness some crowd members have to yell the new lyrics back at Michelle, that this album means a lot to so many here.

The diversity of the set is equally as impressive as the talent. The larger tracks such as ‘Jane Cum’ bring forth an incredible combination of melody and passionate, powerful vocals, whilst ’12 Steps’ holds an innate liveliness to it which Michelle is able to thrive from, and throw herself around the stage. The set’s slower numbers hold even more surprise: ‘Triple 7’ is where Michelle can really explore the true capabilities and prolific power of her vocal range. The highs and harmonies are exquisite and demonstrate the Japanese Breakfast sound in an entirely different manner. Michelle’s vocals are divine and more than capable of carrying the tracks along and the addition of a minimalistic slippery, dream-like guitar gives the psychedelic impact the song needs to stay fresh.

The evening closes with ‘Machinist’, giving the crowd their final opportunity to let out one more burst of enthusiasm for the colourful group. The track’s spoken intro soon grows into chilled synth and colourful charisma, no song could have been suited more to end such a sublime evening!

Overall, Japanese Breakfast have put on a terrific show and have secured themselves another dedicated fanbase in Brighton. The crowd here have loved every moment and equally the band all appear to have had a brilliant time. Japanese Breakfast may still be a rising name, but they are definitely not one to ignore and contain a spark which is truly special. Only time will tell to what heights the band and Michelle will reach over the next few years but, I assure you, you’ll want to be on board when they find out!

Ben Walker

Website: japanesebreakfast.rocks
Facebook: facebook.com/japanesebreakfast
Twitter: twitter.com/Jbrekkie