K Ishibashi of Kishi Bashi is my favorite gutter minded Asian. He first captured my heart when I heard the chilling and uplifting song Manchester on his LP 151a. Around the end of June I found out that Mr. Ishibashi was going to be performing at the House Of Blues and I nearly shat my shorts. I contacted K so that I could get the proper press credentials. I warned him that I built up an impossible level of hype in my head and that he needed to perform up to these expectations.
His reply triggered a mix of emotions. The bad news was that he couldn't guarantee a press pass for the show because he was an opening act. K was basically at the mercy of the headlining band; he didn't know how big his guest/press list would be or if he'd even get a list at all. The good news, the headlining band was fucking Passion Pit! I honestly had no idea. Fuck, I didn't even know that the show was sold out. I immediately went to the House Of Blues website to find out more details. Not only were Passion Pit headlining, GIVERS were also on the line up! GIVERS? I love those cutie patooties from Lousianna, their album In Light was one of my favorites last year and their show at Schubas in 2011 was one of the best concerts I've recently attended.
It was one surprise after another and I thought that I was going to be on the outside looking in. Then, out of the blue, last week Tuesday I got an e-mail from K's manager asking if I still wanted to get on the press list and I was like......'ummmm, let me think about this for a second.....YES.'
On Thursday I headed to the House of Blues with our new and magnificent photographer Jayson De Leon:
When K took the stage people were starting to filter in to the venue. It was obvious that mostly everybody claiming their space on the floor were there primarily for Passion Pit. I actually wanted to kick a lot of these taint stains in the back of the head for either talking, yawning, or eating chicken fingers and blowing their burps in my direction. Eat your fucking chicken fingers at the bar ASSHOLES! I have a lot of respect for musicians that open for bigger and more established acts. I could not deal with that shit. I was annoyed for K because most of the crowd was not nearly as excited as I was, but like a true professional, K kept his cool and ended up winning them over in the end.
The best thing about a Kishi Bashi show is his creative use of looping pedals. He creates all the backing music on the fly which is done in a variety of ways; beat boxing, speeding up recorded violin riffs, creating harmonies/back vocals, playing with pitch etc. The creation of the songs are almost as fascinating as the music itself. K opened the show with It All Began With a Burst; a strange deep 'SHOOOOOMMM' was vocalized into the mic and sped up to create the bass track. A dribblet of pee leaked out creating a quarter sized wet spot on my jeans (I totes played it off as spilled beer). Did I mention that I was excited to see K?
After the first track K's long time friend Mike Savino of Tall Tall Trees came out with a banjo to join him for a few tracks. (I met Mike after the set and he's dreamy. He gave me Tall Tall Tree's LP moment. I listened to it on the way home. It's dope. And because he plays banjo doesn't mean it's bluegrassy. Check them out here.) The K/Mike duo was kick ass. Mike's backing vocals and banjo were a subtle addition musically but the jamming on songs like Atticus, In The Desert and Bright Whites amped up the energy. And speaking of Bright Whites, K lightened up the mood when he asked the crowd to sing along the chorus. The only problem, the chorus is in Japanese and impossibly hard to sing. I've listened to this song 100 times and could not come close to singing it correctly. Mad props to Savino for nailing it though. I accused him of lip syncing it, but he promised that he memorized and sang all the words.
My Kishi Bashi experience came full circle when he closed the set with the same song that began my obsession a couple of months ago: Manchester. Jesus, this song is beautiful. At this point in the show he gained the approval from most of the audience, which was evident by their clapping-along and failed attempts at singing the chorus for Bright Whites. However, Manchester is not a 'clap-along' song....it's more of a 'sit and wait for the back hairz in your neck to rise as he build towards climax' song. And climax we did. It was a perfect ending.
All Photos by Jayson de Leon at LifeKamerAction
GIVERS were up next and I think they shot gunned 6 Red Bulls each before they took the stage. Man do these fuckers have some energy. All of them. The bassist even shook the mousse out of his Flock of Seaguls hair style that fell flat mid-way through the first song. Dude was siezing, bro. In fact, they all have so much energy it spills over into the audience. This gave me a well needed boost because my sick kids left me sleep deprived on the nights leading up to the show
If you aren't familiar with GIVERS check out their album In Light; it is indie pop perfection. Vocalists Taylor Guarisco and Tiffany Lamson have this perfect Girl/Guy vocal trade off and when not singing Tiffany bangs the shit out of the drums. All that you can see from the crowd is a flurry of drum sticks and hair. Every now and then you'll catch a glimpse of her face when she flirtatiously sticks her tongue at you; it drives the dudes crazy. I would have thrown my Jockey's up on the stage if they weren't pee stained from Kishi Bashi's performance. Can you say emmmmmmbarassing?!
The GIVERS set flew by in an instance. They fucking killed it and were even better than I remember last year. They seemed to play with more confidence and more energy. GIVERS should not be an opening act for anybody. They are one of those bands who should make headliners nervous; they almost warm up the crowd too much.
Side note: I ran into to the GIVERS drummer Kirby after the set while he was taking pictures with fans. I gave him an official Syffal sticker and told him that I wanted to interview him. Kirby, if you are reading this you better not ignore my Facebook request. I want to be internet friendsies with you. Hopefully this will build the bridge to an interview where I can learn about Tiffany's relationship status and what underwear brand she prefers to be thrown at her on stage. These are the things your fans want to know Kirbs! Can I call you Kirbs now that we are going to be internet friendsies?
Passion Pit started off the set with Gossamer and crowd was ready; I could literally feel the floor moving up and down they jumped to the beat. Front man Michael Angelakos moved around the stage engaging the crowd who was already high on adrenaline and chicken finger preservatives. I enjoy Passion Pit, but I wouldn't say I'm a huge fan, but he had me hooked too. Well, hooked for the first couple of songs. The performance affected me in the same way their latest album Gossamer does: It'd be my favorite album if it ended after the 4th track Constant Conversations because I completely lose interest after that song.[*Side note: I fucking love Constant Conversations; it sounds like Passion Pit is having an orgy with Dirty Projectors in the champagne room of an R&B club]. The performance just seemed to fall of the ledge; the band played their instruments, looked uninterested, and relied too heavily on the performance of Angelakos. BUT who the Fuck am I? The rest of the audience seemed to be enjoying the show; it just wasn't for me. I took this as my queue to make quick exit, avoid the crowd, and get home before 1:00.
Regardless of my pre-mature peacing out the night was great. I met some cool people, listened to some great music and had a fun time. People are going to see Passion Pit regardless because they are well established and deservedly so, but if you get the chance I highly recommend that you check out Kishi Bashi and GIVERS. Hell, check out Tall Tall Trees too. Support the up and comers in music...seek them out, form your own opinion, and share what you like.