Concert Review: Japanese Breakfast at White Oak was a Majestic Experience

Japanese Breakfast made a tour stop at the beloved White Oak Music Hall in Houston, along with openers SASAMI. The doors opened at 8, and everyone in line was ready to kick off the Halloween weekend with the band. All you can see is unique costumes, from a juice box to an Astronaut that represented the Houston Astros. 

Showing up early to catch the openers is always a good thing, but sadly my Uber driver did not agree. I arrived after the usual three songs and wasn’t able to photograph SASAMI, but oh boy did she blow my mind! JBrekkie has a more tranquil vibe to their music, but SASAMI was the complete opposite. Sasami Ashworth, also known as SASAMI, was dressed as a nun and she was screaming her lungs out, while her bandmates were spinning the long rocker hair. Her music and stage presence was hardcore and grunge, and it totally reminded me of Cherry Glazerr. With a simple search, it turns out she used to be a part of the band! I instantly fell in love with the songs and everything about her. She just announced her US headlining tour (unfortunately, no Texas dates) but i’m going to make an effort to see her at a future show. 

SASAMI ended her set and went straight to the merch booth, and everyone rushed out to meet her. I waited for the next set, and I saw more people in costumes, alot of them wearing the notable Jubilee yellow. The lights dimmed down, and everyone started screaming. As soon as Michelle Zauner walked out wearing her Jigglypuff-inspired dress, it was go time. 

JBrekkie started their set with “Paprika,” where Zauner used a gong to emphasize her lyrics. From the photo pit, I think it almost blew out my ear drums but it was totally worth it. She would get so close to the crowd, and the crowd would sing back to her. She continued with “Be Sweet,” a song where everyone put on their dancing shoes and sang their hearts out! It was such a cool moment to see Zauner dance all over the stage.

The best part of the show was when they played the highly-acclaimed “Boyish” from their second album Soft Sounds from Another Planet, and I just cried. Hearing the song live was so unreal, as I felt I was being lifted into the clouds. Zauner’s voice was so crisp, the instrumentals sounded much better live than in the recording, and I wish I could relive this moment over and over again. After “Boyish,” Zauner gave a little rant on how the last time they were in Houston, they played the smaller room at White Oak and that it felt good to be back. The band continued to play the heartwrenching “The Body is a Blade,” another song from the second album.

For the encore, they ended the show with “Posing for Bondage” and “Diving Woman.” No single soul at the venue stood quiet or still, as JBrekkie definitely made everyone sing and cry at the same time. Overall, the show was incredible. It felt really good to hear the transition from Jbrekkie’s melancholic past works to the more vibrant newer tracks. Their stage presence was amazing, they always found opportunities to interact with the audience, and it was definitely a show that I will always cherish. 

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