LIVE: Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace, London

The Texan trio wowed a packed-out Alexandra Palace with a cosmic concoction of global sounds that needed no translation.
Posted: 16 April 2022 Words: Tom Curtis-Horsfall

“This is a large crowd. Y’all looking good tonight” announced Khruangbin guitarist Mark Speer in a minor moment of mid-set reflection, but it was the psychedelic trio that looked the part. Especially on a stage of this grandeur. 

Typically decked out in their trademark black wigs, the Texans have cultivated fandom for their flamboyant outfits almost as much as their music - bassist Laura Lee was suited and booted, and meant business for the band’s biggest show to date. 

For a band that have remained largely instrumental throughout their career, selling out Alexandra Palace is an impressive achievement. But as purveyors and profiteers of mainstream music’s globalisation, no other band blends psychedelia, disco, dub, and soul quite like Khruangbin. Their transportive sound needs no translation. There were 10,000 rowdy punters in the venue to vouch for it. 

Renowned for their crate digging approach to finding inspiration, they dug deep into their own back catalogue, incorporating tracks like ‘No.4’ which may’ve been consigned to the history books in favour of newer, more chantable songs. With Khruangbin, whenever it’s mellow it’s magic. But they truly shine when they enter their trance-inducing mix of psychedelia and disco.

With two enormous disco balls put to good use and washed-out, triple exposed images broadcast through two screens on either side of the stage, Speer and Lee sashay to and fro in tandem, whilst metronomic drummer DJ stays composed and ‘in the cut’. A cucumber couldn’t be cooler. 

A delightfully disorientating rendition of ‘Evan Finds The Third Room’ sent heads spinning and feet shuffling, whilst the kitsch, crowd-pleasing medley of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, and the Snap! classic ‘Rhythm Is A Dancer’ ensured plenty of Instagram-able moments. There were other tracks included - even the Eastenders theme tune got a spin - but you could probably check your social feed for confirmation to save me reciting them all.

Albeit master musicians, Khruangbin have seemingly captured the zeitgeist of adoration for international sounds. But, put simply, they’re just straight-up fun - clinking tequila bottles as percussion during breakdowns, costume changes, infectious rhythms, and unlikely cover versions in tow, the trio both wowed Alexandra Palace and whet appetites for a blissful summer ahead.

To hear more from Khruangbin, click here.

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