Three bands shook people the fuck up at The Social the way only homegrown bands can do through pure noisy, folky, lo-fi rock euphoria.
By homegrown, I mean those bands that sprawl out of suburban garages and bedrooms taking influences from all around, no matter what suburb it may be. Listening to folk and incorporating violins, lo-fi rock from the 80s and making it their own or even pop hits in some ways, it’s all meshed together but it makes sense.
First up were Brooklyn indie bois, CENDE. Truthfully, I forgot there was another band besides Japanese Breakfast and (Sandy) Alex G playing that night but they shook me with their distorted, outrageously loud guitars and drum bangs. It was adorable to me for some reason because I felt like I was watching a garage band right from the house’s lawn but after a bit, some songs just started to blend and weren’t catching my attention. Still, they had good bops they entered with and around the end they even popped Michelle Zauneer (Japanese Breakfast) in for their best track of the night, “What I Want” which I’m totally *not* listening to on repeat as I write this. They have a home-y feel to them regardless and if they’re going to keep producing good soft jams, my ears are ready.
After CENDE left the stage came the main reason I came to this show, Japanese Breakfast. For once, I remember how I first heard a band and with her, it was a day of pure relaxation at home where I was cleaning around and listening to new music (mostly girl rock bands) through radio suggestions. After hearing just one song of hers, I immediately went to her latest album and fell for some songs.
Like I’ve seen at many shows I’ve attended at The Social, bands don’t have the greatest time with the sound and take a while trying to make it work. Regardless of that BS, the show began and I was instantly hooked. From song to song, Zauneer had so much stage presence. Maybe it’s because I saw a trait in her that many tell me I have, but she was animated and feeling it. As a musician myself, I know how easy it is to become a monotone looking zombie because you’re so concentrated in not fucking up but she just felt at ease up on the stage singing angry parts with a furrowed brow and happier parts by jumping with an adorable smile.
After certain songs, she admitted that she was so nervous going up on stage with CENDE for some reason but now felt no nerves attacking her saying “It’s funny, the things that make you nervous.” My friend and I turned at each other and just went “same.” That same day of the concert, “Boyish” was released from the upcoming Soft Sounds From Another Planet and so she played it at the show and boooiiii was I excited. I hadn’t stop listening to it from the moment I woke up. It has an old-timey vibe to it and she described it perfectly as the feeling when you’re at a dance standing across from your crush and it looks like he’s going toward you to dance but asks the girl next to you instead. Pure middle school heartbreak.
Although Japanese Breakfast’s music features more instruments than those they had on stage, she still provided with a synthesizer, MIDI and piano making all the music still feel the same as what we hear on record.
Alex G didn’t do the same which I found a bit unfortunate because I feel like it adds a lot to his sound. Coming up in the end, his vibes were still pretty hype and people even started moshing in the middle for a bit but I had to calm myself before jumping into the small pit because God knows the pain that has come from those crazy moments of mine.
Touring after his recent release, Rocket, he played already classic tracks from it such as “Poison Root” and “Bobby” which had me shook fo sho. Again, I wish there were strings or more of what’s heard on the album on stage, but it was still the same lyrics and loving vibe emanating from the musician himself which kept the sold out crowd happy. Looking around the packed crowd, everyone was fixated to the small stage as Alex G didn’t break eye contact with people in different moments or held his tongue over his lips as he looked down on his guitar.
Taking it back to 2015, he played one of my favorite jams off of Trick called “Mary.” It’s simple but it’s real as fuck and the crowd was feelin’ it which is all you really want by the end of the night.