I got to photograph Kishi Bashi for the first time in 2014 at Cincinnati’s Bunbury festival, and again last week in Columbus’ A&R Music Bar.

Initially, Kaoru Ishibashi performed solo on stage with a looper. When I photographed him in 2014, he had a full band performing with him. This year, Kishi seemed to be more comfortable on stage than when I last saw him. Banjoist Mike Savino and bassist Daniel Brunner joined in on back up vocals on an omni-directional mic. People sang along to Bright Whits despite the chorus not being in English. But when it came to the lovely ballad from Lighght Q&A, Daniel hushed the audience. This happened on a few tracks where Kaoru wanted everyone to be able to hear his vocals.

Some might think he was controlling, but it is a refreshing change from those artists whom I shall not name that strongly recommend or even orchestrate a sing-a-long. When I buy a ticket, I go to a performance to hear the artist sing, not the person next to me who is two beers away from being thrown out or passed out.

As I was leaving the venue, I was approached by a man named Jay who refused to have his photo taken, or pay for a ticket to enter the venue.

He stood outside listening. When I passed by, he stopped me to ask who the performer was. We talked about it for more than I had planned.¬†Jay and I were talking about¬†Lindsey Stirling, and Kishi Bashi.¬†I reiterated what I had written once before on my¬†bio¬†on my own website‚ÄĒKishi Bashi wasn’t concerned about his fans liking his music, his concern is that his art; his message was not going to be delivered exactly how he¬†had it planned in his head.

Seeing that during the conversation, Daniel Brunner (drummer) stepped out for a smoke, I leaned in and invited him into the conversation with, “I could be wrong though.”

Daniel took a small puff from his cigarette and said, “No, that was beautiful. You got it completely right.”

I’ve never spoken to Kishi Bashi, but¬†he should know, his art is being received by his fans with open arms. He is a classically trained iconoclast that will continue to evolve and amaze.

Courtesy of Harry Acosta Photography.