Kishi Bashi Live Review @ The Lexington, London (10 May)

After touring around various stops in continental Europe, Kaoru Ishibashi finally made his first visit to the UK as Kishi Bashi. The much-loved solo performer is well-accustomed to life on-the-road when he was a backing musician for artists such as Regina Spektor, Of Montreal and also toured with Jupiter One. But now, with the help of some loop pedals, his comprehensively composed tracks were solely under the influence of his hands, feet and larynx.

His experience as a performer was obvious; a confident character on the stage and had no interest in conforming to presupposed archetypes of musicians.  By far, one of the most honest performances I’ve ever seen – during the opening of ‘Chester’s Burst Over The Hamptons’, he accidently shut down all his loops and exclaims ‘oh fuck!’, much to the delight of the crowd. But such is the abundance of talent Kishi possesses, he decides to whittle off a masterfully improvised track instead.

It was probably down to Kishi’s thoroughly endearing disposition that elated listeners were extremely eager to interact with the classically trained artist during tracks by whistling and vocalising the “oohs” in ‘Atticus, In The Desert’. And in between tracks, the banter was cordial and Kishi expressed yet more of his quirkily affable personality – at one point, saying that he was wearing a bowtie because he sarcastically thought it was normal British attire but then remarked “nobody’s wearing a bowtie…”

From an auditory point of view, most knew what to expect; delightfully crafted orchestral-pop full of twinkling textures. But to see Kishi construct the tracks was simply enthralling. His timing on the loops pedals was impeccable (except for that one hiccup) despite the various layers and his beat-boxing was surprisingly good for somebody from a classical background. At one point (yet another example of his charmingly confident character) he even briefly attempted some dubstep.

The highlight was probably his impeccable cover of Beirut’s ‘Sunday Smile’ – the sentiments of the track were captured beautifully. But then again, the whole night was flawless. Even the flaws were spun into something wonderful and unique! Quite frankly, it was an utterly memorable gig by an absolutely lovable individual creating superbly complete tracks.

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