One of the breakout artists from 2017, Japanese Breakfast came back to San Diego to perform at The Irenic. After the release of her second record, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, Michelle Zauner (aka Japanese Breakfast), has continued her ascent as a critical darling. Her emotionally-driven songs along with her intimate performances at her live shows makes her someone worth seeing. Even with artists such as King Krule and Big K.R.I.T. playing on the same night in San Diego, Japanese Breakfast delivered.
The openers for the show were And And And and Snail Mail. I ran late to the show and was only able to catch Snail Mail but they were great. I remember seeing the band last year as well when they opened up for Girlpool. I remember talking to them for a little bit after her set and they told me it was their first time in San Diego. I told them to get some Mexican food from a 24/7 spot but I digress. Snail Mail’s set was mainly just emotional and guitar-driven. The crowd swayed to most of her songs and it was great to see how far her and the rest of her band have come. Watching her perform last year while she was still relatively new to touring to now playing at Coachella makes me feel like a proud parent. She ended her set with just a solo performance of her and her guitar.
After Snail Mail’s fantastic set, everyone was now awaiting for the headliner. You can tell everyone was ready to hear Japanese Breakfast sing. She came out to a hooting crowd wearing a beautiful white dress while clutching her guitar. She started off her set with “In Heaven”, off of Psychopomp. “In Heaven” was a fitting song to begin with due to her attire.
After the song was finished, she thanked the crowd for coming out and seemed so grateful. I remember seeing her perform for the first time last year ironically at The Irenic and she was great. I never heard of her before that and it was captivating seeing her sing songs like “Road Head” before it was even released. Watching her perform tonight made me reminisce of seeing her open up for Sandy (Alex G) and just be in awe at how far she has come. She was fresh off of playing at Coachella as well and her anecdotes in between some of her songs were cool to hear.
The crowd did not let her down as they fed off her energy and returned it. When she played “Machinist” off her latest album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet, the crowd was jumping up and down along with her. Things only got more exciting when she played “Roadhead” and the crowd still kept up with her. In the middle of her set, she stated how the show she was playing at San Diego was special to her because her dad flew all the way from Thailand to see her. She even added how she wouldn’t let him go to Coachella so he had to see her in San Diego instead.
The crowd continued to go wild as she sang other fan-favorites of her’s such as “Boyish” and “Diving Woman”. She had great vocal performances throughout her set and you can tell the crowd was enamored by her. One fan even brought her wings and she even ate one onstage. She ended her set with “Everybody Wants to Love You” and it was a fitting since everyone in the crowd seemed to be in love with her.
Japanese Breakfast put on an even more memorable show than when I saw her last. Even when she was singing some songs with the most heartbreaking lyrics, you could not help but sing along with a smile on your face. If you have not seen her live before, I highly recommend it. If your ears are hungry for some good music then Japanese Breakfast will leave them satisfied.