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Review: Japanese Breakfast and Belle and Sebastian @ The Ritz

Japanese Breakfast and Belle and Sebastian performed a fantastic co-headlining show in Raleigh on Tuesday night.

Openers Los Bitchos gave a festive performance that got the crowd ready to groove to the headliners. "Pista (Fresh Start)" boasts a beautifully quirky music video and is also a pleasure to watch live as the group bounced along onstage together.

Japanese Breakfast came on strong with a euphoric rendition of "Paprika," a loving ode to the art of performance. Armed with a mallet, singer Michelle Zauner punctuated each beat with a hit of a thoughtfully decorated gong that reverberated deep in the chest of those in the crowd. On the track she asks, "How's it feel to stand at to stand at the height of your powers / To captivate every heart?" and during their performance the crowd did indeed hang on to every word.

Japanese Breakfast

At one point Zauner took a brief moment to discuss how her first show in Raleigh was at a DIY venue, garnering cheers from the audience. Referring to it as "pillow something," it can only be assumed that she meant The Mattress Fort, a now-defunct basement venue that hosted a wide array of shows back in the day. The band has gradually been moving to bigger venues (they played a sold-out show at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro last year) and it will be no surprise to anyone if they one day return to North Carolina on a stadium tour.

Fresh off the success of Jubilee , a Saturday Night Live performance and a best-selling debut book, it's hard to exactly articulate the genius of Michelle Zauner. Playful yet at times heartbreakingly sincere, Japanese Breakfast emulated pure joy and left the audience with the distinct thought that they must have just witnessed something magical.

Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian effortlessly kept the energy going, which is not an easy feat as the third and final act of a show. The group tore through a healthy mix of tracks from their extensive catalogue in a set that was overflowing with passion and entertainment.

Singer Stuart Murdock hopped on top of the piano as they played "Unnecessary Drama," an upbeat track from their recently released album A Bit of Previous. His dance moves were a hit with the crowd as concert-goers bopped along with him. The group looked as though they felt right at home at The Ritz, as the experienced performers were quick to charm the audience the moment they stepped out from backstage.

The raw vitality of their performance and the chemistry between the group turned the venue into a party, with the band seemingly having as much fun as the fans. Belle and Sebastian gave a vibrant live show with a stage filled the the brim with talented musicians.

View the full gallery below:

Photos by Keira Lindgren


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