Cibo Matto: Where Music and Food Collide

July 19th, 2011

Cibo Matto – The Bowery Ballroom – July 18, 2011

A reunited Cibo Matto brought funky, food-inspired music to a sold-out Bowery Ballroom last night, a stage they hadn’t played together since disbanding about 10 years ago. The duo of vocalist Miho Hatori and instrumentalist Yuka Honda began their set with “Beef Jerky,” before leading us through a musical meal that included such dishes as “BBQ” and “Birthday Cake.” Indeed, one of the many charms of Cibo Matto is this fascination with food, as well as the good-natured sense of humor and fun that powers their eclectic music.

Songs like “Sci Fi Wasabi” and “Le Pain Perdu” offered a nice throwback to the sample-heavy days of ’90s hip-hop à la the Beastie Boys—while a new song, “Tenth Floor Ghost Girl,” set itself apart from the older material, sounding very current, with a steady bassline and smooth dance beat suggesting hints of the Rapture. Longtime friend and collaborator Sean Lennon, whose band The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger had opened the show, joined Cibo Matto for a mellow, groovy rendition of “Moonchild,” and took the time to add his own food-centric touch, reminding the group about all the gas-station snacks they used to eat while touring together (“Lots of Doritos,” Hatori specified. “Cool Ranch.”)

The crowd was eager to gobble up Cibo Matto’s songs, and by the end of the show, everyone seemed to leave feeling sonically satiated. Now, if only Cibo Matto could arrange to sell a smorgasbord of all the foods they sing about at the merch table, the experience would truly be complete. These songs have a tendency to make a person pretty hungry. —Alena Kastin