Live Review: Khruangbin at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen


The Texan trio woo with their oriental funk sonics.

We’re big fans of the Texan trio Khruangbin who have ascended into their well deserved spotlight since appearing on Bonobo’s Late Night Tales compilation. Their refreshing, hypnotic sound provides a perfect soundtrack for a multitude of settings bending itself to fit your mood whether it be a pensive nature or a joyous one. So of course we were excited and intrigued to see how this translated into a live setting.

As we manouvered through a sea of silhouettes towards a small clearing to one side of the room, the excitement in the air was unavoidable. This was a crowd obviously well versed in the Thai funk surf-rock sound of the Texan trio, and it was duly rewarded with a set that impressed and even exceeded our expectations.

Those familiar with the group’s debut LP The Universe Smiles Smiles Upon You, may have expected to arrive at the cosy East London venue and be washed over by the warm soothing oriental textures from Mark Speer’s guitar, round considered baselines from Laura Lee and Donald Johnson’s tight drumming. Yet funk was definitely the operative word for a good portion of their set. Energy was instilled into the crowd through tracks like ‘People Everywhere (Still Alive)’ and the ‘Infamous Bill’ from the EP to which there was much twisting and the odd shout too. This was topped off as they seamlessly transitioned into a thicker rhythmic and a soulful James Brown-esque jam. However, when we weren’t cutting shapes, the room looked on admiring the band’s elegance and unforced cool as they vibed with one another to other favourites from the night, including ‘White Gloves’ and ‘August Twelve’. Here Mark demonstrated in one of a few moments some serious improvisation with nifty finger and pedal work.

Catch Khruangbin at Gottwood Festival this summer. 

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