by Nick Cullen
In October, American singer/songwriter Kishi Bashi brought his talent for multi-instrumentalism to Vancouver for a night of profound, genre-genre bending musicianship.
The opening act for the evening, Busman’s Holiday, started the event on an enjoyable note. The brothers out of Bloomington, Indiana had the crowd rompin’ with a series of campfire folk jams and off-the-cuff banter about movies and whatever else happened to be on their mind. But for my money, it was drummer Addison who stole the show, not just with his drumming or singing, but also with his deep, uproarious belly laughter upon hearing something humorous—even if it was he himself who said it. The crowd couldn’t help themselves from laughing and tapping their feet along with him, as these infectiously jolly fellows set the tone for the rest of the night.
To say that one got their money’s worth out of this show would be a wild understatement. From beginning to end, Kishi Bashi simply did not let the energy die. Featuring descending instruments from the ceiling into a mosh pit, and a guest appearance from a literal mascot steak (yes, really), Kishi Bashi and his eclectically talented band masterfully commanded the crowd’s attention with all sorts of theatrical candy coming from all sorts of sources.
A violin virtuoso by trade, Mr. Ishibashi’s unique brand of inventive pop music nibbles at a range of musical sensibilities—everything from pop, to blues, to classical, to beat boxing-fused hip hop. This variety in genre ensured that there were no dips in the action. My companion for the night, who had never heard of Kishi Bashi prior to this event, was completely in awe, and remarked after the show that he absolutely needed to share Kishi Bashi’s music with his mom—likewise, I promptly sent my own mom a slew of his performances on Youtube as soon as I got home.
This is the magic that is Kishi Bashi. He is truly unlike any other artist (though he often summons comparisons with fellow virtuoso Andrew Bird), and his fantastical musical visions will leave anybody who happens to bear witness feeling inspired and mesmerized.