In the summer of 2005, Celebrate Brooklyn programmed a screening of the 1931 film, Dracula, with accompaniment by composer Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet. A violent thunderstorm caused the movie to be aborted barely 15 minutes in. In the crowd that day was Kaoru Ishibashi, the frontman for an indie rock band called Jupiter One. Little did he know, eight years later, he would be opening for Glass at the film's raindate.
Kishi Bashi took the Bandshell stage promptly at 7:35 despite the long lines of people waiting to get in. The venue was already packed, and the only free space being the pathway between the seats and the lawn, I picked a spot to stand and watch. "You can't stand there. You have to go in the grass," demanded a security guard. Having been to several Bandshell shows over the years, I knew that this area always becomes standing room. "Where is everyone else gonna go when they come in?" I asked. "Not here 'cause I'm gonna make them move," said the asshole on a power trip. I would have rather focused on K's opening improvisation, but by the time I was able to find a small piece of mud to stand on, he was already joined by Mike Savino (Tall Tall Trees) on colored-light-changing banjo and Elizabeth Ziman (Elizabeth & the Catapult) on drumpads. "I'm gonna do a song called 'Chester's Burst Over the Hamptons,' which ends in chaos. I'm sorry," he warned. Assuming the crowd was there for Philip Glass, I'm not sure what he was worried about. "Chester" never truly ended either, transitioning out of the chaos into "Beat the Bright Out of Me." Halfway into "Bright Whites," K began one of his trademark beatbox breakdowns, singing "Celebrate Brooklyn" (Just the words; not the They Might Be Giants song.) to cheers from the crowd. "We're gonna calm things down for a minute. This song was placed strategically in the set so I wouldn't have a heart attack," he said before "Wonder Woman, Wonder Me." It was hard to hear with all the chatter coming from the hill, as I realized that the crowd wasn't necessarily there to listen to Philip Glass, but to see a free movie outside. K sensed some reluctance from the audience too, clarifying, "I'm not on drugs; I'm just having a great time, okay?" It was quite clear he was, especially being able to open for Mr. Glass. He was visibly choked up talking about the influence minimalism has had on his music, and admitted fanboyishly, "I got a picture with him. That was cool." He attempted another improvisation in honor of Glass, but felt it wasn't up to par. "That didn't do him any justice. That was terrible; I'm sorry. That's the nature of improvisation," he shrugged. He redeemed himself with "Manchester," performed solo with a little assistance from nature's disco ball: a crew of lightning bugs that flickered with scattered beauty. Though I would've liked to experience Dracula, there was no place to stand, at least where anyone would let me.
KISHI BASHI - 07.13.13 - PROSPECT PARK BANDSHELL (59 minutes)
SET -Improvisation 1 > Evalyn, Summer Has Arrived / Atticus, In the Desert / Chester's Burst Over the Hamptons > Beat the Bright Out of Me / Bright Whites / Wonder Woman, Wonder Me / It All Began with a Burst / I Am the Antichrist to You / Improvisation 2 / Manchester