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A unique night with Cibo Matto and Salt Cathedral at the Spaceland Ballroom

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On Friday, February 7, I went to see the difficult-to-classify Japanese-born duo Cibo Matto at Hamden's Spaceland Ballroom (my first time at that venue.) Expatriates Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori founded the group in New York City in 1994: some genres used to classify them include shibuya-kei (a Japanese style blending pop, jazz and synthpop,) trip-hop and indie pop. Their name is Italian for "crazy food," as their early songs were preoccupied with food ("Know Your Chicken," "Sugar Water," etc.) I was first exposed to them through the Xbox game Jet Set Radio Future, which featured the annoying-yet-appealing (it's weird, I know) song "Birthday Cake." Cibo Matto is touring to promote their newest album since 1999: Hotel Valentine, with a fitting release date of February 14, is a concept album about a hotel filled with ghosts.

Opening act Salt Cathedral was very fitting: they're a five-piece Brooklyn band that plays a uniquely compelling style of indie pop that reminded me strongly of Bjork, particularly with the skilled vocals. Everyone cheered when Cibo Matto took the stage, kicking off with one of the songs that I came to hear: their 90s college radio hit "Sugar Water." They of course also performed several songs from Hotel Valentine such as "Deja Vu" and "Empty Pool," which were fun as well. I was happy to hear them close the concert with a song that really got everyone jumping: "Birthday Cake," which is really fun to get into live.

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