Japanese Breakfast gives you permission to be silly and scream the Cranberries with your friends.

6/1/18 – The Sinclair

Supporting her second solo album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, under the moniker Japanese Breakfast, Michelle Zauner and her band have been touring nonstop around the world since its 2017 release. Her sound is often labeled as dream-pop or shoegaze, two genres where lyrics and vocals often take a backseat to soaring walls of sound. She stands out because her voice and lyrics are the stars of the show instead. What draws many to her music is the wide variety of subjects she touches on with the sentiment of an “oversharer.” You may have just met, but Zauner is going to talk about grief, sexuality, self-destructive ex-lovers, her insecurities, revenge, and oh, falling in love with a robot.

Deservedly riding the high of selling out the first five shows of their current tour, including the Sinclair two nights in a row, Zauner bounced onto the stage with multicolored light-up sneakers. To the delight of longtime fans, the foursome opened with “In Heaven” and “The Woman that Loves You” off the debut album Psychopomp.

Zauner stated, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so upset than when speaking with my air carrier about our baggage… If only there was a Sinclair Airlines, we would fly it all the time.” This was Zauner’s fourth time on the Sinclair’s stage, and clearly Boston has always shown the love.


A rogue fan shouted, “Your shoes are LIT!” and Zauner kicked back her foot in jest. This kind of audience interaction seemed encouraged between songs. Zauner spent way more time than average on stage banter, touching on subjects such as: almost pooping your pants, the dread of turning 30, her childhood friend (and merch table attendant) losing her wallet and phone, and Backpack Kid’s “flossing” dance on SNL. At the end of the show, she and her husband, guitarist and Berklee College of Music alum, Peter Bradley, both attempted the dance to a giggling audience.  

Summed up like that, the banter all sounds completely silly and it was but, that is part of Japanese Breakfast’s charm. Zauner and the band were having fun and smiling the whole time. When musicians let their guard down on stage and act silly, it gives everyone else permission to do the same.

Standouts of the rest of the show included a new, unreleased song called “2042” that had the room grooving, “Diving Woman“, and the amazing encore. “Diving Woman” has some tasty basslines and driving guitar melodies that chase each other around as they slowly build up—very satisfying to hear live.

In an expert move, the band closed out the evening with a high-energy throwback. Zauner crushed the vocals of “Dreams” by the Cranberries, jumping around with the audience whenever she had a break from singing. They didn’t try to do their own version, paying respect to the classic. Belting out some “Ohhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhs” with 500 people just feels plain good. The audience filtered out to a warm spring night rosy-cheeked and grinning. Mission accomplished.

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