Kishi Bishi and The Barr Brothers Captivated (le) Poisson Rouge

A string of bare lightbulbs coiled around the cluttered stage at (le) poisson rouge on Wednesday night. They were part of several devices artfully illuminated throughout The Barr Brothersset, enhancing the luster of this radiant band.

Photo by Sean Wehrli

The quartet opened by standing in shadows cast by golden footlights, strumming with an austerity that resembled an orchestra tuning up before melting into the glittering song “Old Mythologies”.  The lights emphasized the ominous tones in their sound, an effect that was both contrasted and augmented throughout their hour-long set by spotlights, in moody shades of blue, blasts of strobe lights and the swelling of the lightbulbs to punctuate the percussion.

The band’s music is introspective, reflecting their own nature as performers. Brad Barr is the personality of the band; neither his brother, Andrew, nor Andres Vial or Sarah Page ever say a word on stage, nor do they need to.  Their quiet concentration is easygoing, without any touch of conceit, and the level of experimentation in their sound is thrilling. […]

Photo by Sean Wehrli

Kishi Bishi, in his opening set, had delivered his own brand of stirring sounds, driven by layered loops of violin lines and vocal melodies. He was at ease negotiating between two microphones, his violin and various electronic controls, and unhurried in his soft-spoken comments between songs. With his hair in a spiky mohawk and a bow-tie around his neck, he contrasted his sweet falsetto with grooving beatbox breaks, and the impassioned power behind his voice was thrilling when released on songs like “Manchester”. When not singing, he poured his heart into his violin, closing his eyes as a contented smile spread across his face.  […]

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