Concert Review: Kishi Bashi, February 11th, The Great Hall

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. This is less of a review and more of a love letter to K. Ishibashi and his live set. There’s no way my mediocre words and adjectives strung together can in any way capture the beauty and awe inspiring show that Kishi Bashi puts on.

A Monday night, after a hard day at work dreading the next day, I headed on over to the Great Hall; without looking at live videos on YouTube, I had no pre-made assumptions of what was to come. Going into a show like this nowadays is a choice, as the information age has allowed us to look up any musician we want and see videos of any live performances they might have recorded. Preparing oneself in that manner prior to the show is sometimes beneficial when you are reviewing, as you may get a feel for their set list. Yet, going in blind and being completely knocked off your feet by the performance is like getting a puppy for Christmas.

Here’s the low down on Mr. Ishibashi. He’s been around for quite a while; a classically trained violinist, Kaoru Ishibashi was a touring member of Regina Spektor, Of Montreal and Sondre Lerche. He was a founding member of Jupiter One, who are currently on hiatus, their last album came out in 2009.  He released his first EP as Kishi Bashi in 2011, titled: Room For Dream, and a follow up full-length titled: 151a in 2012 and since then has been touring extensively.

With Ishibashi’s extensive experience and classical training, his music is well-rounded, consistently drawing from different genres together to create something that cannot be pigeonholed. In songs like Atticus, in the Desert, you can hear the twang of the old west. In Bright Whites, he starts off with a middle eastern influence, and heads into a classical sounding symphony, which then transforms into a sweet, folk love song.

With his live set, he creates the illusion of many instrumentalists on stage at once, using a looping pedal, layering his violin and percussion (created by beat boxing). As a listener, you’re guaranteed a different experience every time, adding to my giddiness and the growing emotional connection I felt to this authentic music.  Ishibashi, for a large part of the show,  had two backing musicians with him, Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees and his electric banjo and Elizabeth ‘Zim Zim’ Ziman, known to some as Elizabeth & The Catapult, aiding with vocals, some keys and a bit of percussion.

The music Kishi Bashi has created is so emotionally invoking, it’s almost comical to hear his witty stage banter and watch him drink vodka straight from the bottle.  He attempted a new song in the middle of his set called “Philsophize It! Chemicalize It!” and stopped several times, afraid he could not finish it or that it would be terrible.  Finishing off his show with a cover of U2’s ‘With or Without You’ and beautiful love song, ‘Manchester’. Kishi Bashi, who raised the funds to record this album on Kickstarter, invited the crowd to drink with him at The Drake, because he “really wanted to meet and chat with us” truly creating one of the most intimate bonding experiences an audience can have with the performer.

Posted on by lauren in Everything