Friday, January 12, 2007

Hazel Nuts Chocolate At The Que

Hazel Nuts Chocolate wasn't quite what I expected.

The same way that, say, a historical site looks different in real life from what you'd imagined, favorite musicians I see for the first time often bely my expectations. This was the case with Hazel Nuts Chocolate, the electronic pop unit of a girl nick-named Yuppa. I've been a fan of hers for a while but had never seen her play live, and Friday night's show at the Que was her first in a year.

From the photos I'd seen of her and the often kid-TV-show-like sound of her music, I expected Yuppa to be some sort of bubbly, petite nymph. But the actual Yuppa, coming on the stage wearing a silky, orange-gold gown and jeans, was fairly tall and slender. Her two albums , stuffed full of bright, picture book illustrations (her bio says she studied children's literature in school) and songs about topics like witches, her hat collection and cooking vegetable soup for a boyfriend, give her the persona of a visitor from a parallel, Peter Rabbit universe. In reality, she talks like an ordinary Japanese girl, using the currently popular expressions, about things like the Nintendo Wii.

She played the Wii with her family over New Year's, and exclaimed that anyone, including her parents, can have fun playing it, and showed the audience how her family moved their arms wildly playing the bowling game. Swinging her own arm, she then went into one of her best songs, "Swing Life".

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