We Love Music: Cibo Matto @ Rock & Roll Hotel, 7/19/11

photos by Santiago Gamboa.

New York based duo Cibo Matto  brought girl-powered grooves to a full house at the Rock & Roll Hotel last Tuesday night. After a ten year hiatus Japanese ex-pats Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori reunited earlier this year to play a benefit show alongside Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth and Mike Patton for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Soon after they announced their US reunion tour, “Yeah Basically Cibo Matto”, as well as plans for a new album.

Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori came onstage to a room full of cheering fans and looked happy to be there. They started their set off with the dreamy/funky/jazzy “Beef Jerky,” from their debut album “Viva La Woman”. The duo had the audience jumping and shouting along right away to the quirky chorus “Who cares? I don’t care! A horse’s ass is better than yours!” The mood of fun and funk was set and remained throughout the show.

It was great to see the duo onstage again after so many years. I had the pleasure of seeing them a few times in the 90s, when I was in high school, and their performances were always super fun. Despite the break, the duo hadn’t lost any of their energy; it was as if they had never stopped; the ten year gap just a blink. They still had their talent and their spark. Halfway through their fourth song, “Spoon” from their second album “Stereo Type A” they were joined onstage by a bassist and drummer, fleshing out their sound and bringing more grooves to the dance party.

Though the show felt short, they served up high points like savory dishes to the audience. The saucy “BBQ” from their 1997 EP “Super Relax” had the two firing lyrics rap-style, with the apex in the chorus “make it funky, let’s get greasy, let’s get chunky!” They changed pace for the lovely, soulful “Moonchild” from their second album “Stereo Type A” not once, but twice. After finishing the song Hatori announced that she wanted to try it again, because she had been distracted and the song deserved more attention because it is a special song to them. The rest of the band played along and started in again, and yes, the second time was with more feeling. (It sounded great both times, and I don’t think anyone minded grooving to it twice.)

There were a couple new songs thrown in, tasty teasers for the 2012 album. They closed their set with the punky “Birthday”, which again had the audience jumping, dancing and shouting along. Thankfully they came back out for a short encore to their short set, ending with bouncy celebration “Know Your Chicken.” They left their audience appropriately hungry for more.

Alexia Kauffman

Alexia was born and raised in Arlington, VA. She has been a cellist since age four, and a lover of rock & roll soon after. The first tape she owned was “Make It Big” by Wham, and the first tape she bought was Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” and she still loves both. She was a member of local synth-rock outfit Soft Complex for several years, and has recorded with bands including Engine Down and Two if By Sea. By day she works for a non-profit distributing royalties to musicians and labels. She currently plays cello, lap-steel guitar and tambourine in the DC post-folk/Americana band The Torches.

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