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Friday, Oct 22, 2021

Kishi Bashi showcases unique musical blend in Cox Capitol Theatre performance

Kishi Bashi’s unique talents as a violinist and singer shined during a recent concert.
Kishi Bashi’s unique talents as a violinist and singer shined during a recent concert.

When Kishi Bashi opened up for Guster at the Cox Capitol Theatre in June, his short opening set was received enthusiastically and the promise of a return left everyone excited for more. With the time and set-up for a full show, Bashi took his opportunity to energize the Macon crowd once again and delivered on an incredible show.

Kishi Bashi is the stage name of classical violinist Kaoru Ishibashi, who has toured with Regina Spektor and of Montreal and was a founding member of the mid-2000s band Jupiter One. His most recent solo record, his sophomore project, “Lighght,” peaked at No. 52 on the Billboard 200 charts.

His music can be described as a marriage between traditional Japanese folk music and indie pop with his violin as the centerpiece. His lyrics float between Japanese and English making for a unique experience of sound for those not well versed in the language. Bashi uses this to his advantage and manages to convey a wide range of emotion through songs that are barely intelligible to English-speaking audiences.  

His live show is a master class in live looping effects, as Bashi not only builds up his violin but also his soaring vocals into an omnipresent, yet harmonious wall of sound. His band consisted of a drummer, synth player and a banjo player whose instrument doubled as an extra drum. The back-up instruments added an extra element of fullness to the set that would have been lost had the show just been Bashi looping.

Bashi’s 16 song set tore through his discography, hitting practically any song a fan could hope for. The opening song “Bright Whites,” one of the original four songs from Bashi’s debut “Room For Dream,” ended in a stellar beatbox breakdown that was a huge hit with the crowd. Connecting with the crowd, Bashi explained the story behind a few of his songs throughout the night — including “Q&A,” which was a song written for a girl who contributed to his Kickstarter who asked for a song for her friend and “Bittersweet Genesis For Him And Her,” which works as a tale of both “cosmic love and a creation myth,” as Bashi put it.

The medium crowd of mostly young adults was energetic to the point at which Bashi had to ask them to be quiet a few times because of the occasionally subdued nature of his set, but they all sung uproariously when it came time. “Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!” was a particularly roaring sing-along. “The Ballad Of Mr. Steak” was a raging party. And the encore performance of “Manchester” brought the house down.

The possibility for another show was mentioned at the end of the encore, and given the warm reception Bashi received on both of his visits so far, another show could be on the horizon sooner rather than later.


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