Michelle Zauner made her way back to Houston on Monday with her band Japanese Breakfast to a sold out show upstairs at White Oak Music Hall. When I heard that there was a show that night at WOMH that was sold out, I really thought it would have been King Krule’s set downstairs, especially considering the sheer amount of hype 2017’s the OOZ got. However, I was pleasantly proven wrong, and there were no more tickets to the Japanese Breakfast show upstairs. I have been in attendance at upstairs shows at WOMH where there have been as few as 20 in the crowd for Spiral Stairs to about a half-full room for Corey Feldman. Last night, I learned that a full capacity show in that room is intense, and there is no real room to move around. It also gets very hot and humid. Anyway, I remember Zauner attracting a large turnout to her last Houston show at Walter’s, so I guess this does not come at any big surprise. When I was driving to the venue it dawned on me that I have previously interviewed Michelle Zauner, which can be found here.
The show started out with Houston’s Football, etc. I got there about halfway into their set, and it would appear as if they had already really prepped the crowd up and set the mood for the headliner, all the while providing their eerie, kinda emo music that they’ve been doing for a good minute now that got them signed to Community records. The hometown love and support felt genuine, and it felt like the people in attendance really enjoyed getting to spend some of their evening with the band. When they finished around 8:45 p.m., I think football, etc. made some new fans for themselves.
9:00 p.m. had now approached, and people made their way to the front. The lights went black and a blue light beam appeared. All stylish, the band now stood behind their instruments to the tune of applause that, honestly, sounded way louder than I thought possible for an upstairs gig. Zauner broke out with “In Heaven” from 2016’s Psychopomp. The dream pop song was a good choice for an opener, because each time she began a new, the sound would completely change. Like, Japanese Breakfast would do something Cocteau Twins-esque, such as “The Woman That Loves You” before going into the auto-tune heavy, almost robotic “Machinist.” Ironic, I know. An overly-altered songs, the funky bass lines goes hand in hand with Zauner’s vocals and the modulation that she added to make it an infectiously “fun” three-and-a-half minute long song.
This sort of drastic change progressed throughout the night, and she even had time to play some new material, a tune titled “2042.” I want to go back and say, whenever there was some applause from the crowd, it was legitimately as loud as the cheering that I’ve heard at venues as large as House of Blues. Her fanbase has shows some serious love on her tour supporting the album Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Houston is not the only sold out show on the tour either, so it’s very clear that they’re on to something here. At this rate, where will they play next? Will Japanese Breakfast be selling out the Revention Music Center next?