Tuesday, August 16, 2011

After 10-year hiatus, Cibo Matto meets expectations with exuberance

CIBO MATTO At: Brighton Music Hall, Wednesday

Ten years is a long time to wait, so it’s no surprise that the sold-out crowd for the first local Cibo Matto show in a decade was anxious to get the party started. At Brighton Music Hall Wednesday night, fans were yelling out the names of songs from the New York Japanese-American duo’s era-defining 1990s albums before they even took the stage.

They didn’t leave disappointed. Yuka Honda, whose reserved demeanor contrasted with the noisy squalls of horn blasts and thick bass and beats she manipulated from behind her keyboards, and Miho Hatori, the brash, stylish exemplar of both hip-hop swagger and romantic crooning, ran through an hour and change of their greatest hits.

The first portion of the set found the two onstage alone for tracks such as the dreamy “Beef Jerky,’’ with its alternating jazz trip-outs and playfully aggressive rapping. “Le Pain Perdu’’ followed, locating them somewhere between a smoky Jazz Age nightclub and a sci-fi space bar.

But it wasn’t until the gorgeously romantic “Spoon,’’ with its funky drum-roll loops and spy-film guitar riffs, and a drummer and bass player joining mid-song, that their energy matched expectations. New material proved they are as adept at genre-splicing as ever, stirring hip-hop, electro, samba, and jazz into short servings of exuberant joy.

Soon afterward came the swooning slow dance of “Moon Child,’’ with bassist Jesse Murphy providing a nice upper-register harmony. Superstar drummer Yuko Araki made it hard to stand still, and it’s doubtful there was anyone in the crowd who wasn’t pogoing along with the band, at least in spirit, for the joyous “Birthday Cake.’’

Altered arrangements for fan favorites like “Sci-Fi Wasabi,’’ played here as a dub track, and “Know Your Chicken,’’ with a less herky jerky approach and a new melody line, showed that the band is still willing to take chances, and that the lengthy hiatus was well worth the wait.

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