Japanese Breakfast is pure catharsis and wonder at their radiant stop at the Glass House

Japanese Breakfast at the Glass House by Steven Ward
Japanese Breakfast at the Glass House by Steven Ward

As the penultimate show on her +80 date Jubilee tour, Japanese Breakfast saw fit to end their first romp around the country after a global pandemic as rapturously as possible at the Glass House in Pomona. Fronted by the indomitable Michelle Zauner, whose visceral songwriting fuels the conflagration of ecstatic emotion and hard-earned wisdom that define the band’s music. Onstage, Zauner is a meteoric and constantly alternating dynamo of grief, rage, and inextinguishable love, channeling all the sublime tones and textures that emanate from her bandmates. 

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There are the hurricane sax solos provided by Adam Schatz on “Slide Tackle” and the piercing violin-work of Emily Wells — both of whom provide the tangles of effervescent synths that tumble from songs like “Be Sweet.” On drums longtime member Craig Hendrix provides the concussive backbone of all the band’s songs, punctuating everything from the tender strums of “Kokomo, IN,” to the deep revolutions of noisy crescendos of “Road Head” and the springy anthemics on the satirizing billionaire love-song “Savage Good Boy.” Hendrix’s robust wail provides the perfect backing to Zauner’s luminous trill, lending his shouts to the jangly rocker “Everybody Wants to Love You.” On guitar, Deven Craige holds down the heady bass that courses and rumbles through the cavernous soundscapes of “Diving Woman” and the earnest “The Body is a Blade.”

Opposite Craig is Peter Bradley, Zauner’s husband, offering up the riveting riffs and glowing tones that wind themselves through many a Japanese Breakfast song, including one of the band’s encores, “Posing for Cars,” which collapsed in finale amidst a cacophony of sonics ardently provided by the entire group. 

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Sasami at the Glass House by Steven Ward
Sasami at the Glass House by Steven Ward

Like the gong slams she gave to open the night on the euphoric exaltations of “Paprika,” Zauner emerged triumphant and resounding against the cascade of sound that burst from the phenomenal group of artists, friends, and family that surrounded her.

Sasami opened the night for Japanese Breakfast, riling up the crowd with her band’s frenetic switch-footing between noisy pop and heavier rock sensibilities. Roaring into her mic, Sasami was pure unbridled emotion, a fire that was fanned by both her band’s virulent playing and the crowd’s manic energy. Show-stopping moments came song after song, which included a cover of System of a Down’s “Toxicity” that just made the crowd fucking lose it. 

Words & Photos: Steven Ward