Japanese Breakfast Plays First Avenue’s Main Room Like They Own It


I guess I’m still rusty from the long concert hiatus. When I walked into First Avenue Sunday night to set up my cameras, I turned on the first one only to be greeted by an “empty card slot” warning. The card is sitting safely at home on my desk. Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, I have a backup, right? Insert backup card into camera, feel all smug and professional, turn on second camera………….CRAP!!! Guess who gets to switch memory cards between cameras while shooting.

Alas, the crowd at First Ave wasn’t there to watch me do magic card shuffles. They were there for Japanese Breakfast. 

Starting the evening was Toronto artist Luna Li. Judging by the amount of fans who had shown up for her set and the amount of cheers, I clearly was alone not knowing her. Her smooth sometimes dreamy vocals blend well with the poppy sound of her music. She also showed her violin skills in a couple of songs. Overall a very entertaining set that led me to check her out a bit more.

Between sets I found that the First Avenue staff was as usual zero rust, all polish. One fan was a little unsteady, fell and staff was there within seconds to assist.

Michelle Zauner’s band Japanese Breakfast is no stranger to First Avenue venues. I saw them a couple of times at the Entry, and they have graced the Fine Line, Triple Rock and Palace several times as openers and headliners. But this was their first time headlining the main room and Zauner’s joy was reflected in her performance. 

The set opened with songs from their new album “Jubilee” and large gong being used on stage. Despite the involuntary break, this is a seasoned touring band and trouble with Zauner’s guitar was smoothly bypassed (much smoother than my fumbling my sole card in the dark pit).  Japanese Breakfast is a band that I have much enjoyed seeing progress in their music as well as venue size. Catch them, if they are coming your way, you won’t regret it. 

Set List: Paprika / Be Sweet / In Heaven / The Woman That Loves You / Kokomo, In / Tactics / Boyish / The Body Is A Blade / In Hell / Glider / Posing In Bondage / Savage Good Boy / Road Head / Slide Tackle / Everybody Wants To Love You Encore: Posing For Cars / Diving Woman