I’ll keep it simple: Kishi Bashi blew my mind last night.
The 60-odd people in attendance at Joyful Noise witnessed an explosion of talent bearing little resemblance to any other current artist. Perhaps best known as the violin player for Of Montreal, Bashi’s solo work is a gonzo mash-up of Jeff Buckley-esque swooning vocals, Andrew Bird musical dexterity, and invigorating dance beats. And he does it all with just his voice, a loop machine, and a violin. I’m still trying to pull my jaw from the floor.
Throwing so many disparate styles of music into the cauldron might seem like a bad idea, but Bashi has found a way of maintaining warmth in his songs and leaving room for hooks. Most of the tracks played Wednesday night were from his first full-length, 151a, including the sweeping and dramatic “love” song, I Am the Antichrist to You and the passionate Atticus, In the Desert, perhaps the best song to introduce those unfamiliar with his work.
Another stand-out was the dreamy Evalyn, Summer Has Arrived off Bashi’s Room for Dream EP. The song had a slow build, culminating in an a cappella section reminiscent of Petra Haden Sings the Who Sell Out. And what can I say about the raunchy, still unrecorded Just the Tip other than you’ll just have to hear it sometime.
As Bashi’s profile explodes — which it will — those in attendance Wednesday night are going to look back at the intimate evening as one of those unforgettable, intimate concert experiences that represent everything they love about live music.