Wow. I think I can honestly say I have never smiled that much in my life. From the opening notes buzzed out on Kishi Bashi’s violin to the last good byes and bows, I had the most gigantic smile on my face that entire show. I can’t honestly put my finger on the main cause, but the combination of the joyous music, the even more joyful fans and the most joyous of all, Kishi Bashi, created such a feeling of elation through out the 40 Watt that even my room mate, an admitted main stream music lover, had the time of his life. And it seemed the happier everyone in the building got, the better the music got and the more focused Bashi became to make sure we all stayed pleased. The crowd/ artist participation and cooperation was at the highest level imaginable and he succeeded in quieting the entire club, including the people drinking at the bar when he asked us very politely if he could serenade us with a love song. Maybe even it was the guys next to me, acting like John Lennon himself had returned from the dead to serenade them instead of Kishi Bashi, and their attitudes about the whole show made me so happy. All I know is, I would 100% recommend seeing Kishi Bashi live, even if all you think of when you hear those two words is Japanese food. He will not allow you to regret witnessing him live.
Ah, but of course what was truly impressive was the exact logistics of the entire show. Kishi Bashi is a violin player and lives off playing different riffs and having them loop over each other as he sings. It was so cool to be able to watch him achieve this on stage as he seemed to be playing mini songs for us as he played out each riff he wanted before the real song began. I honestly felt like we had heard three times as many songs as we did because of each riff he had to record.
Kishi Bashi also apparently is an up and coming beat boxer, and he recorded himself beat boxing and making noise into the microphone on more than one occasion which was beyond cool. Around this time he also bashfully admitted he was growing his facial hair as a good luck charm for his new album he was recording and I instantly felt a more personal connection to him and maybe that was the real reason I had so much fun. A fellow superstitious beard wearer is not something one finds every day.
The real songs he did play were awesome, especially the ones I recognized. He played about half of his debut release and his two new tracks and each time I recognized a track, it felt so god to be able to jump and dance with the biggest grin on my face with a group of people that felt just as happy as me. He asked us all to help clap along to most of the songs and on some he even recorded our clapping for the loop he played for the rest of that song. Being that involved in the performance was a novelty for me and something that I really enjoyed.
The show ended around 1:25, the latest one I had ever been too, and the main reason was that this was the last stop of the tour, something I had never experienced before. It seemed Kish Bashi and his traveling band was attempting to thank all of their fans from across the entire tour by playing late into the night and into the early morning for us in Athens. At the very end of the show, the entire band crowd surfed while the remaining members stayed on stage and played “Whole Lotta Love” and taking pulls out of a handle of Jack. Kishi Bashi, staying true to his giving nature, made us clap for his whole band multiple times sharing the love. He made sure we remembered his banjo player, equipped with a flashing banjo and gargantuan beard especially, allowing him his own set to play a song. It was such a happy ending that no one wanted to leave and when Kishi Bashi finally did leave the stage people just milled about, smiles on their faces, looking for more music to dance to. No one left unhappy that night.