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Kishi Bashi At Make Music Pasadena, Saturday June 6th 2015 Review

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Kishi Bashi


With a name like this, I was expecting something very ethnic, but Kishi Bashi revealed themselves to be more eclectic than exotic. They were a bit of everything, an Asian guy playing an electrifying violin, a heavy tattooed-bearded guy playing a mad electric banjo decorated with Inuit paintings, and you have to add to this an animated bassist plus a drummer, and the band was totally rocking and stomping, producing a furious new folklore.

Their joyous pop was a bit hirsute and I am not especially talking about the ZZ Top look of the banjo player, but it was a total success among the crowd. There were vocal harmonies, a lot of this classical violin, operatic croon and a desire to go bombastic at each second.

Kishi Bashi is in fact the stage name of violonist and composer K. Ishibashi who has in the past recorded, toured, and collaborated with diverse artists such as Regina Spektor, Sondre Lerche, and he is also a member of the band of Montreal. He received the title of ‘Best New Artist’ by NPR in 2012.

They were going into bright pop and daring experimentation side by side, with new ethnic arrangements (what it seems to be Japanese music?), even bringing a few dance beats or what it seemed to be improvisations. Their music was a sort of beautiful mess tight together by their chaotic moves. Kishi Bashi has described his first EP released in 2011 as ‘a dance between the earthbound materialism of captured art and its airy origins,’ and I believe that when an artist describes his material in such a cryptic and crazy manner, you have to given him full credit!

They were quite excited all set long, so excited that when Kishi hit the wrong note at one point, he did a series of push-ups in the middle of a song as a sort of punishment or challenge? And if I left before the end of their set to check another band, it was certainly not because I was bored.

A few pictures here.


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