It was the night before Thanksgiving, and the beloved Constellation Room of Observatory Orange County seemed to be at max capacity when Kishi Bashi graced the audience with a preview of his new documentary film “Project 9066.” For those who are not completely familiar with his work, Kishi Bashi is an accomplished vocalist, pianist, and violinist who is famous for his unique Eastern Asian experimental pop and ability to loop complicated pieces of music on the spot. He has a cult like following throughout the world due to his accomplished work, and so it was not a surprise when his new tour announcement, involving the new documentary, attracted fans from all over to attend his show this night in Santa Ana, California.

Project 9066” involves Kishi Bashi investigating his own ancestry that is tied in America’s tragic past with the Japanese Internment Camps. He goes on a journey where he visits each site and performs a violin piece improvised on the spot, inspired by the history and culture of the area. Kishi Bashi debuted an early cut of this film at the beginning of his set, and even recreated one of the new improvised tracks live to the delight of everyone. He announced as well that the release of the documentary, and a new album to accompany this film, should be expected this coming year, making 2018 a big year for Kishi Bashi and his fans.

The rest of his set proved to be the perfect mix of acoustic favorites and new hits from his latest album release Sonderlust. He transitioned from piano and violin with ease, demonstrating his prowess as a talented multi-instrumentalist solo artist. With the help of a full band this night, his solo work gained a fuller and more robust sound in new tracks such as “Say Yeah” and “Honeybody.” The most exciting moment of the performance though was when Kishi Bashi and his band joined the audience in the middle of the pit for the encore. Being so close to the artists and hearing stripped down versions of fan favorites such as their beloved Talking Heads cover of “This Must Be the Place” and sentimental “Manchester” was a truly unique experience for all in attendance. After the intimate encore, Kishi Bashi made it a priority to meet fans and take pictures, leaving fans in awe of one of the most personable and authentic indie pop artists in the industry today.

Kishi Bashi is still on tour, so catch him next in Dallas, Texas, where he will be performing at Trees. He will be continuing his tour through Texas to the East Coast, so be sure to catch him, and the debut of his new film, live during this special tour.

Photography by Sarah Woods

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