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Japanese Breakfast with Luna Li at Thalia Hall

Japanese Breakfast, with opener Luna Li, performed at two sold out concerts at Chicago’s Thalia Hall on September 15th and 16th. I attended the concert on the 16th and the live performances brought great elegance and celebration. This was my first concert in over a year and — having been reminded that night — what joy a live show can bring to your soul. It was especially joyous with the colorfully bright lights and wondrous performances.


Luna Li opened the night with glittery and dreamy songs that illuminated the spirits of the crowd. Luna Li — alongside bandmates Char, Braden, and Sabrina — added a whimsical twist to the typically serious DIY attitude, delivering great amusement and warmth to the venue. An especially fantastical moment was Luna Li playing her butterfly guitar. Despite the origin of the guitar’s purchase, it fit well with the magical stage performance of the group. If you have yet to hear Luna Li, you can check out their Bandcamp here.


One can imagine Luna Li being a magical pixie setting the stage for the fairy godmother, who is Michelle Zauner, to come out and entrance everyone with her miraculous voice. She began with the luscious “Paprika” to pull everyone into the spell she would cast throughout the entire concert. An amazing sight to see her slam a gong while continuing to deliver a perfect vocal performance. Throughout the concert, I was mesmerized to sing (to the best of my ability) “Be Sweet”, hypnotized to sway alongside “Kokomo, IN”, and captivated to jump to “Slide Tackle”.

Japanese Breakfast reminded me that night the importance of listening and appreciating a live music performance. Yes, you can go back to an album and listen anytime, but with a live performance you gain an experience and a level of honesty. The tracks of Jubilee felt even more joyful and sincere live. “In Hell” live pierced me emotionally that I felt tears try to escape my eyes; “Posing in Bondage” gripped the atmosphere and left me drifting in euphoria. My mind was blown at the extremely raw and wonderful performance of “Diving Woman”. The entire concert was indeed “a rush”, as mentioned in “Paprika”. I and everyone in attendance were the “strangers” listening, feeling, and lingering to all of Michelle Zauner’s “visions” and “words”. All of our hearts were captivated at the sheer magical power of Japanese Breakfast.

Japanese Breakfast continues to tour the United States until November 16th. The band will return to Chicago again to two more sold out shows on October 11th and 12th. Those in attendance will be lucky to feel the “rush” of Japanese Breakfast being “the center of magic” on stage. You can purchase tickets here, and if you haven’t yet, buy Jubilee on the website or Bandcamp.

all images taken by Diego Basaldu



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