Live Review: Japanese Breakfast, Crooks & Nannies, Sarah Sherman, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 31, 2023

The album cycle for Japanese Breakfast’s breakthrough Jubilee, released in spring 2021, ended with a jubilant Halloween show at The Fillmore Philly. I don’t know anything about Lord Of The Rings, so I almost thought singer/guitarist/all-around rock star Michelle Zauner’s long beard was a commentary on how long the band has been touring to promote the record.

Before Zauner moves to Seoul with husband/guitarist/keyboardist Peter Bradley, oversees the release of the film adaptation of her memoir Crying In H Mart, writes her next book and records the follow-up to Jubilee, Japanese Breakfast ended this era with a big, beautiful performance in its forever hometown, and it was pure, unadulterated joy for both band (fully decked out to match the film excerpts playing behind them) and fans (in a variety of costumes, with multiple people wearing Zauner-inspired braids and headpieces).

In addition to playing most of Jubilee (standouts included “Be Sweet,” “Kokomo, IN” and “Posing For Cars”), the band dug into Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Planet (“Everybody Wants To Love You” being my favorite, as always, but also “In Heaven,” “Road Head” and “Diving Woman,” among others), reached back to Zauner and bassist Deven Craige’s Little Big League days for a pair of tunes (“Boyish” and “Lindsey,” enlisting ex-bandmate Kevin O’Halloran on guitar for the latter) and teased a new number (“Orlando”).

Crooks & Nannies, stepping in for originally announced opener Hop Along, seemed to amuse themselves as Frankenstein and Carrie traded instruments and lead vocals a number of times.

Between bands, Saturday Night Live’s Sarah Sherman did her shtick. And though her brand of comedy isn’t for me (I get what she’s going for with the confrontations, gross-outs and send-ups of lazy male comics—I just don’t like it), it did bum me out to see the person in front of me give a performative thumbs-down in response to Sherman’s line about being a Jew from New York.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich

Crooks & Nannies