There’s been many things that have been a long time coming these days. One such occasion would be the return of live music, and in particular, singer-songwriter Michelle Zauner AKA Japanese Breakfast who finally celebrated the release of her critically-acclaimed latest record Jubilee with a sold-out show at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park.
The evening was kicked off in electrifying fashion by openers Philly punk rock band Mannequin Pussy who commanded the stage with rapturous energy and intensity. Their set was full of crowd-ready numbers but also demonstrated moments of welcome vulnerability and intimacy thanks to front-woman Marisa Dabice whose stage presence was exuberant and captivating throughout. The band’s on-stage chemistry and passionate commitment made their set highly accessible. It also managed to make their short set a highly personal, vibrant and invigorating mood-setter for the evening while showcasing their dynamic and mesmerizing talent. Be on the lookout for this band in the future as they’re bound to continue to resonate with listeners and audiences alike.
When it came time for the main attraction, Japanese Breakfast arrived on-stage with endless amounts of euphoria, joy and charm. The setlist contained many of the choice cuts and fan-favorites from Jubilee all performed with exuberance and artistry by Michelle Zauner who was also accompanied seamlessly by her adept backing band. In-between songs, Zauner expressed gratitude and sincerity towards her fan base which was nice to hear. The newer material such as “Be Sweet” and “Paprika” integrated seamlessly between staples “Road Head”, “Diving Women”, “The Woman That Loves You” and “In Heaven”. Production-wise, Japanese Breakfast’s set was full of vibrant lighting and stunning visuals that perfectly complemented the mood and atmosphere of each song. The chemistry between Zauner and her band was clearly evident and resulted in a truly well-rounded and richly crafted performance.
Perhaps the ultimate achievement of Japanese Breakfast’s set is how much passion and warmth it conveyed ultimately uniting the entire audience on a beautiful evening of music. As a performer, Zauner was at her absolute best exhibiting some of her warmest, soulful and most confident vocals. Coming off this past year was quite difficult for many, especially artists and creatives. The Japanese Breakfast show at Asbury Lanes reminded us how great art can bring us together and let us celebrate ourselves in the process. Be sure to give Japanese Breakfast’s latest record a listen and also be on the lookout as well as they return to Asbury for Shadow Of The City Festival at The Stone Pony in September.
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