Friday, July 15, 2011

Show review: Cibo Matto at Lincoln Hall, 7/14

By Andrew Hertzberg

I wasn’t too familiar with Cibo Matto before attending this show. But I had it on good authority that this was a band I needed to see live. The Japanese expat duo is touring for the first time in 10 years and new material is expected to be released early next year. 

The set started off with the two ladies of the band at the front of the stage. Miho Hatori took the lead vocals while Yuka Honda controlled the keys and pre-recorded tracks of drums, sax, guitar and more. The crowd was thrilled to welcome Cibo Matto back as they opened up with "Beef Jerky," a track that already features the band's range. The verses spotlighted Hatori’s seductive vocals which quickly transitioned to a confrontational chorus of “Who cares? I don't care! A horse's ass is better than yours.” The funk trip-hop continued with "Le Pain Perdu," a bossa nova-tinged track. The group epitomizes '90s NYC club sounds, ranging between anything that really is driven by a groove; it’s impossible not to give at least a head bob and finger tap while you listen to them.

After Hatori expressed her love for Chicago music (specifically R Kelly and Frankie Knuckles) they played "Sugar Water," which was accompanied by a visual palindrome music video directed by Michel Gondry. Soon after, the duo was joined by a drummer and bassist, and the Beastie Boysesque back and forth between Hatori and Honda of "BBQ" brought the energy up quite a bit. By this point, you’re probably sensing a pattern in the song titles. For those not in the know, Cibo Matto means "crazy food" in Italian and the group is committed to providing cibo matto for the ear buds. I apologize to any wayward Internet stragglers looking to find more info on the Chicago restaurant of the same name. The band themselves have not dined there yet as it’s a bit pricey, but they’ve heard good things. Anyway.

With the reunion and expected forthcoming release, new tracks were inevitable. We got a taste of "Dance Floor Ghost Girl," which sounded like the Specials rendition of "Monster Mash" sung by Fred Schneider at a karaoke bar. In less esoteric terms, it’s a damn good preview of what’s to come. Throughout the show, Hatori showed tremendous vocal range, transitioning between Poly Styrene sing/speak yelps to heartfelt and passionate melodies like in "Moonchild." The set closed out with "Birthday Cake," an abrasive, dancey tune, with the irresistible chorus of “Shut up and eat! Too bad no bon appetite!” 

The encore kicked off with ‘Blue Train,’ which started off like a sludgey "Iron Man" before picking up the pace for the chorus. The tempo slowed again before the perpetual build up at the end towards the climax, enhanced by a blue strobe light explosion. The night closed out with "Know Your Chicken," with a disco ball hitting at the breakdown and Hatori opting for a microphone with an eerie octave down harmony. Overall the show was great, full of energy and unconventional sounds. Definitely don’t want to wait another ten years before Cibo Matto hit up Chicago again.


Check out more show reviews:
Local H, Hollows, Liturgy at West Fest
The Rosen Association, Chants at the Whistler
Briar Rabbit at Double Door
Jason Webley at Panchos
Not in the Face, Moon Furies, Man Your Horse at Memories
The Kent McDaniel Band, Kraig Kenning at Custer's Last Stand fest

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