Show Review: Kishi Bashi w/ Tall Tall Trees at Off Broadway – 08/04/12
A beaming Kishi Bashi walked on stage in St. Louis last Saturday to 275+ fans with a feather [almost literally] in his cap (it was ostrich, and it was tucked into a navy suit jacket rather than a hat). And K. Ishibashi had good reason to be proud, as the former of Montreal and Regina Spektor violinist’s debut LP, 151a, has earned him a national tour and a boatload of new fans. As for our stop, the St. Louis crowd was a polite mix of assumed NPR listeners, familiar-faced live music aficionados, and music blog-devouring minors (with a few over-participatory “first-beer-ever” amateurs mixed in…it *was* a Saturday, after all).
KB exuberantly ran through most tracks off both 151a and his 2011 EP, Room for Dream, taking short breaks to address the crowd and to acknowledge and delight in the surprise of a nearly full house (he played the same room 6 months ago to 60 fans, tops). Most bold might have been his choice to include Dream‘s “Evalyn, Summer Has Arrived” mid-set, which he intro-ed as a slow one, and which reminded the ass-to-elbows crowd that indeed, summer had arrived. We ate it up of course, as we were all adoring, sweaty putty in his hands. With his live looping, precise vocal performance, and startling musicianship, Kishi Bashi is exactly why we should forever get off of our asses, put on pants, and go see concerts with our friends.
Earlier in the show, Ishibashi strolled on stage midway through opener Tall Tall Trees‘ set (project of multi-instrumentalist and banjo sorcerer Mike Savino), and together they absolutely slayed. The two looked like the Odd Couple up there – KB in skinny jeans and impeccably-coiffed, Savino in a beard and baggy Levi’s…but if you closed your eyes, you’d imagine as many as a dozen musicians up front, shuffling back and forth between restraint and abandon, like only musicians who are truly in control of their instruments and their performances can.
During the two-song encore, things went from awkward to wonderful, as Kishi Bashi began with his unrecorded, hip hop joke song that’s occasionally part of his live performances called “Just the Tip”. It was funny enough, but to the two dudes who spent the entire main set screaming the title of the song: Your “tips” belong in a food processor. Ishibashi ended the night in proper fashion with “Manchester”, and we were all singing along, quietly, hopefully out of something like admiration or respect or at least in agreement, that yeah, we hadn’t felt that alive in a long time.
– If you haven’t already, do check out Tall Tall Trees. They have all the Internet things, so look for him/them. We took photos of the set.
– TTT’s cover of choice: Johnston’s overdone “True Love Will Find You in the End”, though Savino treated it beautifully and carefully. KB’s cover: Beirut’s “A Sunday Smile”.