Kishi Bashi Wows At First Avenue


After spending a day in the kitchen preparing food for an event tomorrow I was more than eager to head out to First Ave. After all, one of my personal favorites Kishi Bashi was playing.


I had never heard of Pip the Pansy before, but from the moment she took the stage, I was fascinated. Ok, OK, you are used to me going on and on about openers. But, dang. Pip is something special. The flute quiver should have been my first hint. Many of her songs start with the flute being sampled, but if you expect Pip to stay behind her keyboard, you have another thing coming. She’s all over the stage, getting close – and in one case getting into the audience. The layers to her live performance an impressive to watch, the timing is impeccable. At one point, she played the flute and beatboxed at the same time – yes AT THE SAME TIME. 

Her music has as many components as her stage show. It’s modern pop at it’s best with elements from EDM, Hip Hop and Jazz. Throw in a very personal connection to the audience and Pip turns out to be the complete package. Remember the name, I suspect we’ll be hearing it a lot more.

When I first saw Kishi Bashi a couple of years ago, I knew only one of his songs, but Ieft the show seeking out more and more of his music. As much as I hate the word, I had become a fan.  For his new album “Omoiyari” Kishi Bashi picked an unusual theme: The story of Japanase Americans during WWII and their internment. 

Within the first couple of songs, all the things that I love about Kishi Bashi were just reinforced, the complex layers that force you to listen repeatedly to discover them (there was a guitar rhythm in there that reminded me of Paul Simon), his esoteric voice weaving in and out of the music. A brief break in the music gave him a chance to talk about “Omoiyari” and it’s meaning to him. He mentioned that he will be back with his movie next year. Reminiscing of past tours “Motto – never lose money on tour”. His solo set went back to his roots as a single artist with violin loops building layers and layers into beautiful music.

There were so many remarkable moments in his set, a couple of songs performed by himself, a few played from the audience, but my personal highlight was “Ode To My Next Life” where a mysterious dark hooded figure (who also staffed the merch booth) brought extra vocal power to the chorus. 

Set List: Marigolds \ F Delano \ Hey Big Star \ Say Yeah \ Honeybody – Remix \ Can’t Let Go, Juno \ Carry On Phenomenon \ Ode To My Next Life \ Theme From Jerome (Forgotten Words) \ M’lover \ I Am The Antichrist To You \ Bright Whites \ Q&A \ Penny Rabbit And Summer Bear \ Angeline \ Violin Tsunami \ Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It! \ Atticus, In The Desert \  The Ballad Of Mr. Steak \ It All Began With A Burst 

Encore Annie, Heart Thief Of The Sea \ Manchester \ Summer Of ’42