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Kishi Bashi – Everything Is Illuminated at the Bluebird Denver

I affirm that Kishi Bashi is synonymous with wonder. So much more, but let’s start with wonder. With a stage transformed into forest, these lovely wild things proceeded to charm, engage, and amaze a transfixed audience. A smiling audience that forgot for a couple hours that cell phones or February or a real world existed and bestowed attention where it ought.

And from this enchantingly lit forest, sometimes bright sometimes blue, Kishi Bashi and bandmates Mike Savino (Tall Tall Trees) and Elizabeth Ziman (Elizabeth and the Catapult) played with endearing, authentic sentiment that could have made the hardest of hearts grow three sizes bigger.


There was something pure about the spectacle they created; it was the honest result of three (and sometimes Kishi Bashi alone, save for his barrage of loops) talented musicians having fun. There were impromptu elements- as songs were often gladly built up with hand claps, one gentleman decided to maintain past need. “Dude, why are you still clapping?” The song stopped, applause and laughs. “It’s all those fog machines.” Those fog machines that Kishi Bashi had previously declared, “smell a little weird in Denver, know what I mean?” And the song restarted, all the better for how casual its presentation.


In addition to 151a (listen to the Soundcloud stream), Kishi Bashi played “Evalyn, Summer has Arrived” (originally recorded with Kevin Barnes from of Montreal) and “Conversations at the End of the World” both from the Room for Dream EP, as well as a new song charting in Japan due to an initial snippet featured in a commercial, which prompted the creation in total, “Philosophize in it, Chemicalize with it”.

Added to the set were two covers, Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” aka the Sail Away song and U2’s “With or Without You” the former eliciting that moment rife with vraisemblance immortalized by John Cusack, “I always hated that song” “Yeaaaaa” “Now I kinda like it” “Yeaaaaaaaa.”

Then this wunderkind, this man so adept with a violin who writes incredible songs of love, went 180 and played his facetious ode, “Just the Tip” complete with beatboxing. It was fantastic.


“Manchester” was the last song, glorious as could be, then the announced invitation to come hang out across the street at Mezcal was reiterated, and we exited greater than we had arrived, so very fortunate to have experienced this display of heartwarming, life-affirming wonder.

For you vinylphiles, Kishi Bashi released three 7″ singles via that are as colorful as his stage performances in a 2-color splatter design, with a different color combination for each 7″ record (Clear & White Vinyl, Purple & Orange Vinyl, Blue & Bone White Vinyl). Collect them all! Because… the cover art for each 7″ when combined together forms a complete ‘triptych landscape’ masterpiece.

Released on Joyful Noise Recordings, each 7″ features singles from 151a – “Manchester,” “Bright Whites,” and “It All Began With A Burst” – along with an unreleased orchestral cover song, much like his live versions, including ELO, Talking Heads, and Beirut.

Stream: “A Sunday Smile” MP3

Kishi Bashi Tour Dates:

Feb 22 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile^
Feb 23 – Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore^
Feb 24 – Portland, OR @ Holocene^
Feb 26 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall^
Feb 27 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Moe’s Alley^
March 1 – West Hollywood, CA @ The Troubadour^
March 2 – San Diego, CA @ The Casbah^
March 3 – Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar
March 4 – Phoenix, AZ @ Crescent Ballroom^
March 5 – Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress^
March 7 – Austin, TX @ The Belmont^ –> For those of you arriving for SXSW Interactive, a good pre-music show to catch   
March 8 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgerald’s (Downstairs)^
March 9 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks^
March 11 – Orlando, FL @ The Social%
March 12 – Jacksonville, FL @ Jack Rabbits%
March 13 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree Cafe%
March 14 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl%
March 15 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall%
March 16 – Norfolk, VA @ Attucks Theatre%#
* w/ Plume Giant
^ w/ Shugo Tokumaru
% w/ Elizabeth and the Catapult
# w/ Tall Tall Trees


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