On Saturday I saw Kishi Bashi open for Deerhoof and Of Montreal at the Showbox by the Market. Honestly it was one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time, mostly because each band carried themselves with full confidence and commanded the stage and the audience. Kishi Bashi was one of the most pleasant surprises in an opening act I’ve seen in a long time. I knew Deerhoof would be an energetic rumpus of thrash-like math rock and of Montreal would be a genre storm of psychedelic weirdness. I had no idea what to expect with Kishi Bashi but the talent he showed was jaw dropping and moving.
Kishi Bashi came out on stage suited up with a cute little bow tie and a styled hairdo. He carried a violin with coolness, holding it alongside his authentic smile. He started pulling the chords like any normal violinist but that was the shortest he remained any kind of normal. He clicked a pedal and looped the viola. He started plucking on the strings annunciating individual notes, looping them in the process. Every few measures he would add a sound, creating layers. All of a sudden he was holding a mic and was beat boxing. The noise he created escalated louder and louder turning himself into an individual orchestra. Watching him create such beautiful noise was beyond impressive. By the end of the first song every one in the audience had looks of shock and surprise. What was that we just witnessed?
In what could be a limited concept of a man with a violin, Kishi Bahsi really goes leagues ahead. Not all of his songs are orchestrated works; many of his songs are built through his dynamic vocals and his outstanding range from high to low within notes. On “Bright Whites” he shows a pop song simpleness, something similar to Simon & Garfunkel. He sings, “You and me at the edge of the world/with a pretty little smile for me to see” to the kind of tune that sticks in your head. He introduced “I Am The Antichrist To You” as a love song, smirking slightly clearly noting the irony. The song is atmospheric and lovely, like a faint memory of regret.
Kishi Bashi is actually his stage name but his real name is K Ishibashi. He may presently live in Florida but he was born in Seattle and he seemed rather thrilled to be here. The background visual on stage looked like a person walking across the mess of construction on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. On nights like this he was actually pulling double duty because he is a touring member in Of Montreal. He doesn’t show any sign of fatigue, only gratitude. He smiles and interacts with the crowd showing a true genuinely. He is on the verge of releasing his first LP called 151a. It should be available on April 10th. Kishi Bashi is someone who carried a good attitude and unbelievable talent. I certainly felt like I was seeing something special in this individual.