Photos by Ryan Swerdlin, Recap by Max Stewart
Houston’s Khruangbin have been on a meteoric trajectory in the last few years, making their mark on legions of live onlookers and folks who have discovered their music during the black hole of limited live performance the last two years. As someone who really dug into the band’s catalog during the pandemic, their sound is the ultimate antidote to all things chaotic of this world. Laura Lee (Bass), Mark Speer (Guitar), and Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr. (Drums) have found a perfect groove for three uniquely-identifiable individual styles, taking listeners on a trip through a variety of sonic planets: psychedelia, rock, funk, downtempo dub and all galaxies in between. Their music truly seems to transcend beyond the day-to-day earthbound drivel, as I found myself in many therapeutic states while enjoying them on my couch in 2020.
This ability to captivate was elevated by the interstellar vibes of their live show during the three night sold out run at Atlanta’s superb new music venue, The Eastern. The stage set up was a sight to behold, each member standing on a raised platform that legitimately resembled extraterrestrial launch pads that were preparing to be beamed into the next dimension. Add to that the phenomenal lighting, iconic hair and stylings, and smashing musicianship, and these shows really felt like otherworldly live experiences. All three nights of the run in the first weekend of December had varied sets, including some teases and covers (including TLC’s “No Scrubs” to Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness”), but were all very much well balanced in bringing in tunes from their major releases: The Universe Smiles Upon You, Mordechai, Con Todo El Mundo, and the 2014 EP, The Infamous Bill.
Any fans of fully immersive concerts will certainly revel in the ride that Khruangbin brings you on. The band pilots you deep into their musical fabric while leading you through many soundscapes of the sonicsphere. We look forward to buckling up and taking flight with Khruangbin for years to come.