Two weeks ago, I visited the Newtown Social Club (formerly known as The Sando) to see Kishi Bashi in his first show on Australian soil under the solo artist banner. I say “under that banner” as I was surprised to find out he’d actually been here before to perform as the violinist for Regina Spektor during her shows at the Sydney Opera House last time she was here. The space was intimate, to put it lightly. As I arrived, the majority of the crowd were sitting cross-legged on the floor, something I never thought I would witness at an over 18’s gig in my lifetime. It may have been understandable though as when Kishi Bashi arrived on stage without a fanfare, or a band for that matter – it was poised to be a night of appreciation rather than raucousness.
As the first song had almost begun, he muddled up the operation on his pedals, bringing the big opener to a sudden halt as he apologised and laughed shyly. It marked the beginning of what would be a troublesome set with unexpected highlights. Popular singles like the eclectic Philosophise With It! Chemicalise In It! and the song that started his rise to indie blog stardom, Bright Whites, fell massively flat with the only support coming from a single violin. In it’s place stood some unexpected favourites.
Where this show hit its peak was in simplicity. When it was just Kishi Bashi singing away and strumming or striking his violin with nothing else required, that’s where the crowd just sat back and appreciated. If I remember any track from the night, it would be the fucking cute Q & A, which was apparently written for two fans who contributed to his kickstarter campaign on the first album. Left in a room with only a vocal, a violin and a set of pedals, it was tracks like these, already standing pretty hollow in recording, that didn’t need anything else to shine. Unfortunately some of the most anticipated songs of the night fell short where electronics, percussion, or even a simple acoustic guitar may have been missing.
He’s a curious fellow, Kishi is. A talker; a dreamer, for lack of a less cheesy word. But honestly, those two words pretty much sum up the show. That’s what he was – as he described the process of writing before every single song. Prior to launching into Bittersweet Genesis For Him AND Her, he spoke of his hypothesis of a world created not by god or a big bang, but life as being the love story of two beings, that we’re all playing a weird part in. I’m not really sure what he meant, but whatever, it made for an interesting show. In the end he got through it alright and I think if he comes back with the full band that it’s something I would highly recommend everyone and anyone check out.
His latest album, Lighght, is out now. You can buy limited edition vinyl for dirt cheap off his bandcamp site right here.