REVIEW: (Sandy) Alex G, Japanese Breakfast, Cende @ the Sinclair 07/05

Photo by Olivia Gehrke
Photo by Olivia Gehrke

In terms of indie icons, the line-up that hit the Sinclair Wednesday night was composed of complete and utter all stars.

Let’s start with Cende. With two of the members being Cameron Wisch of Porches and Greg Rutkin of LVL UP, the band has quite a bit of an indie pop legacy. The set they played was filled with power chords and power pop. The sound was like a boyish Green Day—straightforward lyrics and straightforward music, ridden with poppy energy. That energy mixed with a guest appearance from Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast) and Molly Germer (violinist touring with Alex G) during one of Cende’s songs fed into the sold-out crowd’s excitement for the next opening act.

Cue Japanese Breakfast. Fronted by Zauner, the indie four-piece was an unstoppable force. The band played mostly new songs off their upcoming album, Soft Sounds from Another Planet (which will be released on July 14). Among them was “Machinist,” an electronically driven song with autotune and a passionate spoken word verse, detailing “falling in love with a robot.” “Road Head” and “Boyish” also made their way into the set, along with Japanese Breakfast’s self-proclaimed “hit single about oral sex,” “Everybody Wants to Love You.”

Zauner commanded attention with her effortless talent and powerful, energetic stage presence, and her band (whose talent also could not be ignored) echoed her spirit. The band also announced their first headlining tour this upcoming fall, where they will be making a return the the Sinclair. By their response to Japanese Breakfast’s set, it was evident the crowd would be waiting for the band’s return with excitement and open arms.

Following the explosively poppy set by Japanese Breakfast, (Sandy) Alex G took the stage. After undergoing a name change and the release of his fifth official album, Rocket, Alex Giannascoli was ready to show the crowd that his music never disappoints.

The four-piece was joined by Germer for the songs off Rocket like “Bobby,” “Powerful Man,” and “Proud,” the violin adding a new life to the already vibrant songs. The set, though mostly comprised of Rocket material, had a healthy mix of songs off Alex G’s previous albums. He alternated between guitar and keyboard, keeping the pace and sound fresh.

Alex G’s songs, like many bands, surpass the greatness of their recorded versions when played live. Distortion heavy and laced with Giannascoli’s broken, passionate vocals, the songs take on a heavy, intense, unpolished aura live. This was of course complimented by Giannascoli’s locked knee teetering that is a visual staple of his live shows.

Once the band finished their planned set, they asked for requests—not an uncommon tradition at Alex G shows. Among the requests were “Harvey, “Mary,” and “After Ur Gone.”

“We play that song every fucking night,” said Giannascoli when a mass of voices requested “Animals” off of his 2015 release Trick. “That song sucks.”

The evening was closed with “Brite Boy,” a song that features a female vocalist in an almost call and response pattern between her and Giannascoli. The spot was filled by Zauner, with Germer also making another appearance. It was a cohesive, all-encompassing, feel-good end to the night for the crowd, and Giannascoli seemed to agree.

“We’ve heard some fucked up things about Boston on the road,” he had joked more than once. “But you guys seem pretty cool.”

-Olivia Gehrke