Dark Evenings and Bright Nights with Little Green Cars and Kishi Bashi

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Little Green Cars is at the end of the tour and even though two strings broke, they aren’t falling apart.

On the contrary – their voices were seamed together like velcro. The Dublin-based twenty-something year olds have been singing together since they were in their early teens.

Stevie Appleby, lead singer and guitarist, chatted with his fans comfortably. Show banter is not always natural. Appleby endearingly pointed that out and opted for a poem he called ‘Curse of the Rhino-Boy, Eli.’ Like Little Green Cars’ music, it’s dark and quite charming.

Most of the songs played were off the Absolute Zero album, but they threw in an unnamed new song as well.

For the encore, Little Green Cars huddled and told a story of how “The Consequences of Not Sleeping” came to be (inspired by a lecture from Appleby’s father one night).

The five singers (sans their piano player) walked into the crowd, stood in a circle around their one acoustic guitar and sang the slow, soothing song. They sang sweetly and intimately enough that a girl cried. I didn’t ask her if that happens often.

Urban Lounge had a double-header May 23rd. Little Green Cars (with opener Bullets and Belles) played the early show and Kishi Bashi (with opener Tall Tall Trees) played the late slot.

A madman of a banjo-player, Tall Tall Trees, opened the second show. He lit up his banjo (named Banjotron, and tricked out with LCD lights) and his background light (named The Googly Eye of Sauron) and jammed.

He has been touring with Kishi Bashi, but played solo for the first time on the tour. He is working on a new album, which is rowdier than his 2012 album. The new material is more like his dancing style, which is akin to trying to shake water off the edge of his indie-folk beard.

Tall Tall Trees creates his music solo, by throwing atmospheric drones, indie chords, electronic sounds, bass beats, and sweet lyrics into the back of a banjo, where they are shaken, stirred and looped.

Kishi Bashi’s music is also based on loops. The challenge of looping music is the perfection that is required. Mistakes are unforgiving because rather than being forgotten, they are compounded.

It’s a lot of pressure. It should stress a person out, but it did not appear to faze Kishi Bashi. His face looked as carefree as his music sounded.

Kishi Bashi plays (read: owns, shreds) the violin, sings, beatboxes and loops it all together. As the concert went on, his guitarist, drummer and Tall Tall Trees, who accompanied on banjo, dropped out, leaving Kishi Bashi solo for the last three songs.

He played songs from his new album, Lighght, and his 2013 album, 151a.

The encore, easily the highlight of the show, brought the whole group back out. It started out with an extended drum solo, and then added an improvised violin and banjo duet, which evolved into the beginning of Kishi Bashi’s most well-known song, “Bright Lights,” improved with beatboxing.

The encore included three more songs – “The Ballad of Mr. Steak,” which he danced with to (the kind of dancing that involved his hand on a few people’s heads), a raucous cover of “Live and Let Die,” and the finale, “It All Began with a Burst.”

When we left the venue, I half expected it to be light outside. The concert didn’t feel long; Kishi Bashi’s music is just the type of music you listen to in the sunlight.

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