The college kids of Athens, GA were a rowdy crowd by the time Japanese Breakfast hit the stage at 40 Watt. While the room wasn’t totally packed, the enthusiasm was sincere and tangible. More often than not bands worth seeing skip this smaller college town for Atlanta an hour and a half drive away, making this show all the more special.
Atlanta band Art School Jocks opened up the night bringing a strong dose of DIY garage rock. Dianna Settles, who plays guitar for Art School Jocks, is a local figure in Atlanta’s art community and a good buddy of Michele Zauner (Japanese Breakfast). She’s also behind the artwork seen on a lot of Japanese Breakfast graphics and merchandise.
Snail Mail, the Baltimore bedroom indie pop project of Lindsey Jordan, took the stage next. Despite not having any full-length releases at the time of this show, her strong national following was beyond apparent. Nearly everyone in the crowd sang along with Jordan, who took it all in with a big grin.
Soft, dreamy synth chords broke the lull before the final act. Band members trickled onto stage as “woot-woots” and clapping arose from the crowd, and broke into full on cheering and yelling when Zauner jumped onto stage. Clad in a futuristic, custom-designed, white outfit, she looked like some otherworldly prophet come to share something very important with us meager earthlings.
Zauner closed out the night with a cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”. The crowd loudly showed their approval, happily echoing the lyrics.
Watch Japanese Breakfast’s NPR Tiny Desk concert.