I clapped my hands off last Saturday night. In fact, just about everyone in the basement of the Old University Union that night left sweatier, happier and much more tired than when they arrived.
Saturday night, Kishi Bashi, an extremely talented vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, visited Binghamton University, joining the ranks of the consistently excellent (and free) concerts presented by Binghamton Underground Music Presents, or B.U.M.P. The headliner was supported by student act DreamReel, who delivered a solid performance, winning over the crowd with their eclectic and refreshing mix of violin, group vocals and commanding guitars and drums.
Kishi Bashi took the stage to an excited crowd, though many of the students were unfamiliar with the unique solo artist and attended, as many do, simply to enjoy the show with their friends. Surprising the fans in the audience, the artist was accompanied by a banjo player, going by the moniker “Tall Tall,” and keyboardist “Zim Zim,” breaking his former style of lone, stripped-down performances. The live band was more than a welcome surprise. Their polished touch fleshed out the intricate songs, but brought new life to them as well, finding a sound somewhere between the songs’ rich album counterparts and their previous live incarnations. Surprisingly, this was the first live performance that the group had done together. Impressive, as they sounded like they had been on the road together for months.
Vigorous songs like “Atticus, In the Desert” and gorgeous ballads like “I Am the Antichrist to You” had the audience jumping and clapping in ecstatic jubilation at one moment and in awed appreciation the next, built upon a backbone of impeccable violin and vocal loops. The richness of sound that these three musicians achieved was truly remarkable. The night peaked with a joyous song called “It Began With a Burst,” which riled up the audience in a fervor, bringing even the stragglers to the sides and back into the fun. The group ended the show with two encores, a first, according to the artist himself.
The night ended with the crowd happy and tired, with many new fans rushing to the merch table and to the band itself for some conversation. From the mosh pit of WHRW members to the pair of 15-year-olds in the front row, there’s something special about a show that everyone is completely engulfed in from start to finish. It was just another example of great music and events at Binghamton, and the opportunities for new friends, new interests and most importantly, fun, they bring.