The second show for Kishi Bashi’s European tour hit The Hope and Ruin in Brighton last night. The singer and multi-instrumentalist, who is back in Europe after a very successful American leg, performed songs from his latest album, ‘Omoiyari‘, as well as many tracks from his previous works, including a sublime violin-led cover of Talking Heads’, ’This Must Be the Place’.
Kishi Bashi and his companion musicians, Tall Tall Trees and Emily Hope Rice, filled the cosy room of the pub with their folk-tinted music and sound of many different loop machines and instruments, including Bashi’s trademark violin. Not forgetting to mention the singer’s skilful and versatile voice, whose range led to some memorable falsettos. Among the sixteen or so songs performed to the audience there were the nostalgic and haunting ’Marigolds’, and ’Theme from Jerome (Forgotten Words)’, both from ‘Omoiyari’, (the title of the album can be roughly translated to “having compassion”); but also romantic and tender moments thanks to songs like ‘m’lover‘, and ’I Am the Antichrist to You’ (yes, despite the unusual title it’s actually a love song) – both performed as a solo. Upbeat songs like ’F Delano‘, and ’The Ballad of Mr. Steak’, and improvised parts completed the setlist, bringing a full range of emotions and moods during the evening.
However talent and music weren’t the only things that characterised the vibe of the room last night. Kishi Bashi and his band really know how to engage with the crowd and in the best way possible. There were moments when the show felt more like a conversation between long time friends, many were the stories and jokes told to the crowd. In particular, a recurring gag through the night was about the missing setlist, which the musician forgot to bring on stage, leading to many improvisation pieces and a “can you remember what is the next song?” sort of game that the band played on stage. This warm and light-hearted atmosphere had its peak during the encore, when Kishi Bashi brought a chair in the middle of the room and performed his final songs among the crowd, in a true busker-like unplugged experience. Highlight of this segment is certainly, ‘Summer of ’42’, a heavily violin led song and possibly one of the best tracks of his most recent album.
Needless to say that this spontaneousness and joyful energy conquered everybody in the room. And perhaps Kishi Bashi and his music are the reason why today it feels like less of a Monday than usual to me.
Hoping to see Kishi Bashi and his band again very soon, here’s a link to the rest of the tour and a video from last night: