Concert Review: Kishi Bashi, May 31, Metro

kishi bashi
The first time I saw Mr. K. Ishibashi, was three years ago when he was opening for Sondre Lerche at Lincoln Hall. I specifically remember being skeptical when a lone man walked onto the stage with his violin. He didn’t have a crazy haircut. He didn’t have a baller outfit. It was him, his strings, and, as it turned out, his looping machine.

He was incredible.

Ishibashi built up dizzying walls of sound and broke them down with the tap of a foot – yips, chants, plucks, chords, taps, yells – all ascending and descending like an overwhelming curtain of sound. All emitting, exploding, churning, rolling out of this one lone man on stage with his violin.

Three years later, Kishi Bashi’s gained swagger. It’s really only to be expected from an Of Montreal alumn. He now rocks a blond, spiked haircut and he’s suited up – three piece and a bow tie. He’s also gained an incredibly hirsute band – a guitarist, a drummer and a really really beardy banjo player. Bashi and his backing band dazzled a packed crowd at Metro Saturday night. Along with his new swag and his new friends, Bashi has added some depth and breadth to his show – he’s got dance music (The Ballad of Mr. Steak – during which he got a little weird, donned a cat mask, and hurled himself into the audience to do some crowd surfing with his gopro) and he’s got more standard indie rock pieces with less looping and yipping and more drums and guitar (Q&A, Once Upon a Lucid Dream from his new album Lighght) to mix it up during his set.

But at the heart of the show remains that solo guy walking out onto the stage with his violin and his incredible imagination. The first time Halley wrote up Kishi Bashi for Panic, she described him as being like Fresca – bubbly, sweet, and most of all, refreshing – and that certainly hasn’t changed. Bashi closed the show with ‘It All Began with a Burst’, off his first album 151a. Things definitely have changed in Bashi’s show – he changed the backing loop from “kesa ka ni sasareta” to “Chi-ca-go” (which the crowd, and let’s be real, I, loved) and there was an explosion of confetti and streamers at two separate points – but it did nothing to detract from the lovely, delicate, strains of the song – it only enhanced. There’s always been something almost tactile about Bashi’s music – you almost feel like you can reach out and touch that wall of sound and bring it toppling down over yourself – and Bashi’s new onstage presence brings a sense of fun with the wonder.

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts