Three Must-See Acts This Week: Kishi Bashi, Ride, Jonsi & Alex

Kishi Bashi on Friday at The Warfield, Ride on Friday at The Regency Ballroom and Jônsi & Alex perform Riceboy Sleeps on Monday at Golden Gate Theater

Indie pop

Kishi Bashi

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, at The Warfield, $25, thewarfieldtheatre.com.

Noticing parallels between the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII and the Trump administration’s harsh actions and rhetoric regarding immigration, Kishi Bashi’s latest album, Omoiyari, is a bold protest against hate and xenophobia that maneuvers around its heavy topics with a sense of optimism and respect. A singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, the Berklee-educated Kaoru Ishibashi performed with the band of Montreal and Regina Spektor in addition to forming his own band, Jupiter One. Now performing solo as Kishi Bashi, the musician released his debut album 151A in 2012, a whimsical chamber pop day-trip that centers around Ishibashi’s haunting vocals and sweeping violins that proved to be a critical success. Kishi Bashi’s third album, 2016’s Sonderlust, would hear Ishibashi experiment with more electronic instrumentation along with unexpected but welcome soft rock and R&B influences. Horrified with the surge of white supremacy in the U.S., Ishibashi spent the next few years visiting former Japanese-American prison sites and interviewing survivors from the era, coming up with musical concepts in the process. The result is Kishi Bashi’s fourth album, Omoiyari, a Japanese word that Ishibashi claims, “Refers to the idea of creating compassion towards other people by thinking about them.” Armed with a palpable sense of purpose, Omoiyari is an effective art piece that encourages the listener to view others in the world with empathy.

Courtesy of Artist

 

 

Shoegaze

Ride

8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 11, at The Regency Ballroom, $39.50, theregencyballroom.com.

One of the pioneers of shoegaze along with My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, Ride’s approach to the distortion and reverb-laden genre relied more on melodic songwriting than their contemporaries, but the revitalized quartet have proven they are still able to push sonic boundaries with their latest album, This Is Not a Safe Place. The English quartet is fronted by vocalist and guitarist Andy Bell, who initially created buzz throughout the U.K. with their shatteringly-loud live shows, helping shape what would later become shoegaze. The group’s 1991 debut album, Nowhere, holds up as one of the best albums of its decade, showcasing the band’s control over its dynamics, cooling off bursts of noise with soothing vocal harmonies and beautiful phaser-heavy guitar arrangements. Ride’s sophomore album released the next year, Going Blank Again, continued right where Nowhere left off but veers in a more pop-heavy direction, while not at the expense of the band’s expansive sound. The next two albums from Ride, Carnival of Light and Tarantula, heard the band abandon their shoegaze foundation in favor of more traditional alternative rock that was popular at the time, but neither albums were well-received by fans or critics, leading to Ride’s dissolution in 1996. After years of rumors, Ride would reunite in 2015 for a world tour, releasing their fifth album Weather Diaries in 2017 to critical acclaim, with many citing it as a return to form for the band.

Photo by Neli Lupin/Getty Images

 

 

Ambient

Jônsi & Alex perform Riceboy Sleeps

8 p.m., Monday, Oct. 14, at Golden Gate Theatre, $69, broadwaysf.com.

Ethereal, mysterious, and staggeringly gorgeous, Jónsi & Alex boast a talent for creating expansive and otherworldly atmospheres with their singular style of minimal ambience that their 2009 debut album Riceboy Sleeps displays flawlessly. Best known for his duties as frontman for the legendary Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós, Jónsi Birgisson along with his partner, film composer Alex Somers, began making music together in 2003 when they met in Boston, later moving to Reykjavik together. The pair would spend the next few years working on visual art and music that would compose the bulk of their eventual album, Riceboy Sleeps. Utilizing Icelandic choral arrangements along with unusual acoustic instruments, the instrumental album’s idiosyncratic creative process results in a celestial sound that exists in the same magical realm as its Sigur Rós counterparts, but is unafraid to experiment within new sonic territory. To celebrate the album’s tenth anniversary, Jónsi & Alex have embarked on a world tour playing Riceboy Sleeps in its entirety for the first time in public, along with an orchestra and custom visuals. 

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