Kishi Bashi played to an enamored full-house Sunday night at the Bluebird Theatre. The sold-out crowd hung on the multi-instrumentalist’s every beautiful note, collaborating on choruses and showing heartfelt gratitude whenever possible.
Bashi, full name Kaoru Ishibashi, was in the midst of a nationwide tour with fellow Athens, Ga. based artist, Tall Tall Trees. His third studio album, Sonderlust, was released in 2016 and Bashi played songs that spanned the breadth of his recorded musical output.
Bashi kicked things off with an Appalachian-tinged acoustic version of “Bright Whites” followed by “Q&A” and his “mom’s favorite song,” “Unicorns Die When You Leave” before plugging in for the rest of the show.
The violin virtuoso was talkative throughout the show, bantering with the crowd and cracking jokes with the heavily bearded Tall Tall Trees frontman, Mike Savino, who joined him on stage for most of the show. Bashi was certainly captivating; his jovial, joyful spirit shining brightly in between expertly composed string-driven songs.
Bashi has the ability to shift seamlessly between musical genres melding shimmery pop hits with Caribbean-influenced tunes and disco-esque dance numbers. While most seem upbeat, these are love songs and though many our whimsical others are melancholy and speak of painful heartbreak.
Regardless of the content, Bashi remains upbeat telling the crowd at one point that, “the world is not ending, it’s just beginning.”
The highlight of the show came during the encore. Starting off with a cover of the classic Styx song “Come Sail Away” the band segued into the synth-tastic and pun-heavy “The Balled of Mr. Steak” replete with a Mr. Steak mascot dancing around the stage with Bashi.
The band then brought it down a few notches joining the audience on the floor for acoustic renditions of “This Must Be the Place” and “Manchester" with vocal accompaniment from the surrounding crowd.