Kishi Bashi Crushes Hearts and Minds

Photo of Kishi Bashi by Shervin Lainez
(c) Shervin Lainez

Kishi Bashi, ladies and gentlemen, is a musical revolution. His recorded albums are absolutely lovely, but his live shows, as demonstrated at The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles on October 24th, take it to another level. Musically speaking, this cat is innovative as f***. Sure, a banjo is a banjo is a banjo…but could it also be a drum? When you play with Kishi Bashi, yes, drumming on your banjo makes perfect sense. Harmonize with your violin? Sure, why not?!

Whether Kishi Bashi was caressing his violin like a lover during the song “m’lover” or simply hitting those high notes like Whitney Houston (but in dude, of course), he was crushing it on all levels.

It’s as much classical genius as it is Bollywood or Disney movie at times. And disco. Yes, disco. Oh and don’t forget those bluegrassy moments. Kishi Bashi is where lumber jack meets symphony. And throw in your classic unplugged acoustic experience of five-guys-singing-around-a-microphone during the performance of “Q&A” for the encore. The surprise element just won’t stop. And do you really want it to?

A live Kishi Bashi show is probably best compared to a mind-bending psychedelic trip of new discoveries through unknown territories of magic fairy-land. At one point you may feel like you’re walking through the streets of Tokyo, and suddenly you’re transported to a campfire scene. You’ll find yourself glued to your seat (if there were seats) watching an epic play of sorts. Of course, he tossed confetti in the air with his hand during “Bittersweet Genesis for Him AND Her.” Of course, Mr. Steak joined the stage for the first time in LA during the song “The Ballad of Mr. Steak.” Yes, someone actually dressed up in a giant T-bone steak costume and danced around the stage.

I think, Kishi Bashi actually said it best himself: “What doesn’t kill you, only curses your soul.” Yes, indeed, souls cursed. No musical experience will ever live up to this brilliant, mind-blowing masterpiece. This was, hands down, the best show I’ve seen all year. You will just have to trust me on that one and experience it for yourself.

About The Author

As a contributing editor for Blank Newspaper, Michaela shares Blank's love for all genres of music. After ten years on the Nashville music scene, you can now find her hopping around LA's various music venues and bars in search for the next big story. Michaela has been with Blank Newspaper since 2013 and she currently covers shows in Los Angeles as well as several annual music festivals around the country.

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