Japanese Breakfast with Luna Li

Event Date/Doors Open: 
Friday, September 24, 2021 - 7:00pm
Event Time: 
September 24, 2021 - 8:00pm
Cost: 
$25 Advance, $30 Day of Show

On Friday, September 24, the Community Center for the Performing Arts proudly welcomes Japanese Breakfast back to the WOW Hall along with special guest Luna Li.  Fronted by Eugene native Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast is touring in support of their new album release,  Jubilee.

From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time — a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother‘s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world.

How does she do it? With a joyful noise. From pulsing walls of synthgaze and piano on “Sit,” to the nostalgia-laden strings that float through “Tactics,” Jubilee bursts with the most wide-ranging arrangements of Zauner’s career. Each song unfurls a new aspect of her artistry: “Be Sweet,” co-written with Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum, is a jagged, propulsive piece of ‘80s pop that’s followed by a sweetly melancholic ballad in “Kokomo, IN.” As she rides a crest of saxophones and synthesizers through “Slide Tackle,” a piece of nimble pop-funk run through a New Order lens, Zauner professes her desire to move forward: “I want to be good—I want to navigate this hate in my heart somewhere better.”

In the years leading up to Jubilee, Zauner also took theory lessons and studied piano in earnest for the first time, in an effort to improve her range as a songwriter: “I’ve never wanted to rest on any laurels. I wanted to push it as far as it could go, inviting more people in and pushing myself as a composer, a producer, an arranger.” She pours that sentiment into the album from the very beginning, weaving a veritable tapestry of sound on the opening track “Paprika.” To build such an anthem of self-actualization, Zauner maxed out the technical limits of her recording rig, expelling her anxieties and egoism with layers upon layers of triumphant horns and marching snares. “How’s it feel to be at the center of magic? To linger in tones and words?” she ponders, conjuring the widescreen majesty of Kate Bush. “I opened the floodgates and found no water, no current, no river, no rush!”

Later, on “Savage Good Boy” — a kooky, terrifyingly prophetic jam co-produced with (Sandy) Alex G — Zauner reduces the excess of modern capitalism to an emotional level, sarcastically imagining the perspective of a billionaire trying to convince his lover to join him underground as the apocalypse unfolds. “I want to make the money until there’s no more to be made/And we will be so wealthy, I’m absolved from questioning/That all my bad behavior was just a necessary strain/They’re the stakes in a race to win.”

“I don’t want to weave politics into my music in a way that feels cheap, but I couldn’t make something that doesn’t comment on the reality we live in,” says Zauner. “I think that you need to push yourself to care, and that’s part of what this album is about: If you want change, in anything, you need to go to war for it.”

At the end comes “Posing for Cars,” one of the longest, most visceral Japanese Breakfast songs to date. In its muted opening, Zauner quietly re-embraces impassioned facets of youth—wistful daydreaming, fierce loyalty—atop a bed of slowly-strummed guitars. Those same feelings pour out of her fingertips as she erupts into a cathartic, nearly three-minute-long solo to close out the record, with gradual swells of distortion that evoke the arena-sized guitars of bands like Wilco or Sonic Youth.

Jubilee is an album about processing life and love in the quest for happiness, and how that process sometimes requires us to step outside of ourselves. “Savage Good Boy” isn’t the only time Zauner takes on a persona; On the cavernous masterpiece “Posing In Bondage,” she imagines a woman left behind in the confines of an empty house, traversing the blurred lines between domesticity and dominance as she sings to an absent lover. Meanwhile, “Kokomo, IN” was written from the perspective of a small- town Indiana boy, forced to say goodbye to a girlfriend who’s shipping off to study abroad. But throughout Jubilee, Zauner is hardly fictionalizing her lyrics, instead pouring her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution — these things take real time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.

LUNA LI

Listening to Luna Li is the moment you hang suspended between dream and a haziness, or when you're dancing through a slight tipsiness. You feel beautiful, confident, happy. This is Luna Li and she's here to help you love.



Born and raised in Toronto and a multi-instrumentalist -- she plays the guitar, keyboards, violin and harp as well as providing all the vocals -- Li's musical background is split between multiple paths.



Growing up within the disciplined rigour of trained classical music, she ultimately dropped out of studying violin at Montreal's McGill University aged 18; inspired by her boyfriend's band and the burgeoning garage rock scene back home, she initially subdued her learnt skills.



"But as I spent more time playing shows and writing music I realized that the classical side really is a huge part of me that I still really love" she says. "I'd grown up around a community of teachers at my mom's partner's music school and it was always great having the freedom to try out different instruments and take different kinds of lessons over the years."



So it is that Luna Li has re-connected with her roots. You only need to watch the artist's jams videos -- that regularly reach 200,000 viewers on TikTok and have topped one million plays on Twitter before -- or her 88rising's ASIA RISING FOREVER Livestream (Beabadoobee, Mxmtoon, Rich Brian, etc.), which received over 7.75M+ livestream views and was #1 trending worldwide on Twitter to get a sense of the fluidity with which she moves between each instrument's language.

 

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 30, at 10:00 am, via TicketWeb and are $25 in advance, $30 day of show.  Doors open at 7:00 pm and showtime is 8:00.  The WOW Hall is located at the corner of 8th and Lincoln in Eugene and is open for all ages.  For more information please call 541-687-2746.