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Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club

Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, June 22 2011. Photo by Rachel Fox

Review – Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, June 22 2011

– review and photos by Rachel Fox

Not surprisingly, the Fortune Sound Club crowd for Cibo Matto was relatively small. Yes, it was a Wednesday and yes, the reunited ’90s New York City-via-Japan lady rockers haven’t released any new material this millennium. That said, there was still a serious level of anticipatory buzz in the room.

“Have you ever seen See-Bo Mah-Toe before? I heard they are awesome live,” says the Ocean Pacific-wearing fellow standing next to me. “I bet they are!” say I, before moving along to my companion.

Cibo Matto (pronounced Chee-Bo Mah-Toe)’s debut Viva! La Woman achieved modest success when it was released in 1996. Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda’s whimsically irreverent  music is often labeled as “experimental” as they mix various groovy instrumental rthyms and sampled sounds with Hatori’s unlikely vocal stylings (which include rap – oh, yes she does!).

Cibo Matto’s appeal lies in their balanced yet contrasting sound: the undeniably funky, layered beats sprinkled with a smattering of electronic blippity-bloops topped off by odd, food-themed lyrics performed with an audible Japanese accent are inherently… cute.

Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, June 22 2011. Photo by Rachel Fox

Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, June 22 2011. Photo by Rachel Fox

Chatty Hatori engaged with the audience for the show’s entirety, which only added to her cuteness. “You guys have the best hair!” shouted one girl from the foot of the stage. On keyboards, Honda smiled and coquettishly patted her coif. Hatori began to speak about her impression of the city, saying, “Here in Vancouver you guys have the best…” “Cock!” interrupted one enthused member of the crowd.

Without missing a beat Hatori kept chatting and engaging the crowd, and erupted into laughter by the end of exchange. I was surprised at her vocal range and the grandness of her voice when she hit long-held high notes. Her tiny frame conceals what must be a disproportionately huge set of lungs.

With great excitement Hatori introduced a new song, “10th Floor Ghost Girl”, much to the delight of the crowd, who by this point were fist-pumping and dancing along to a fairly obscure group that had effectively disbanded over 10 years ago.

Cibo Matto sound deliciously girly, with Hatori’s Japanese accent adding an undeniably sweet layer of adorable: I wonder how aware she is of it. Some might find it distracting given the nature of the other drum and bass-heavy sounds coming from the stage, but the small but dedicated following chanting “extra sugar, extra salt!” during “Birthday Cake” do not seem bothered in the slightest.

The sounds emanating from the players onstage (the ladies were joined by a drummer and a bass player after the first three songs) all sounded quite separate and distinct, yet somehow congealed in sonic cohesion, making for a really groovy and highly listenable set. Laser sounds punctuated falsetto vocals as the driving drum and bass kicked it in the background, and the overall effect sounded like a carnival in outer space.

Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, June 22 2011. Rachel Fox photo

Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, June 22 2011. Rachel Fox photo

Setlist – Cibo Matto at Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver, June 22 2011:

Beef Jerky
Le Pain Perdu
Ghost Girl
Sci Fi Wasabi
Check In
Birthday Cake
Blue Train
Know Your Chicken

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