Japanese Breakfast & Mannequin Pussy Tear Up Hi-Ho Lounge
Sep 18 2017

Japanese Breakfast and Mannequin Pussy Tear Up Hi-Ho Lounge

By: Landon Murray

On Setepmber 14, the St. Claude haunt known as the Hi-Ho Lounge hosted two strong, female-fronted bands, who gave the full-capacity crowd exactly what they came looking for. The opener Spirit of the Beehive was ending just as I walked into the club. Can’t really say how strong the overall performance was, but the three or so minutes I did observe were enjoyable.

The first band to hit the stage after I arrived was a foursome I’ve heard of and listened to a little before the show—Mannequin Pussy, out of Philadelphia. With only two releases under their relatively new belt, there’s not a ton to base opinions on. But if you were to base it on the stage energy exhibited, you’d be hardpressed to find anyone who didn’t walk away thinking it was something chaotic, emotional, and special. The band took much of the early energy that made Nirvana so great and made it their own. Imagine the Courtney Love-led Hole, just way better. Many of the songs had that sort of feel to it, but it never seemed like a rip-off. Led by frontwoman Marisa Dabice, the band dominated the confines of the stage during their 40ish-minute set. You might not like what you hear on record, but live, their energy is undeniable and draws you into a frenzy as you watch them slay. Overall, you walk away being a firm believer that this band is going places.

Last up was the headliner Japanese Breakfast. Recently, they’ve been getting a lot of traction on indie radio and websites, and there’s plenty of reasons to pay attention. The sound was more soothing at moments than the bands that preceded them. And as the solo studio project of Michelle Zauner, it lent itself well to the feel of the entire package. More subdued, but also more layered in soundscapes, the band effortlessly transitioned from gorgeous tones to some extreme areas, and kept the minimal in-your-face aspects for the end of the set.

The stage banter between the singer and the crowd was also great. “Road Head” was introduced as a song “about oral sex,” while Zauner also shared stories of previous NOLA shows where no one attended. That certainly wasn’t the case during this show. With most of the songs played being featured on the newest album Soft Sounds from Another Planet, it wasn’t hard to get into the chill aspects of the closing band. Even for a Wednesday night, the large crowd seemed pleased and not ready to step back into responsible life. Japanese Breakfast was enjoyed by all, and if you haven’t been exposed yet, take a bite. It’s very tasty and enjoyable all around. 

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