Khruangbin – Brooklyn Bowl – February 22, 2017
NASA announced Wednesday that it had discovered seven new exoplanets, some of which could potentially sustain life. Is it a coincidence that on the very same day Khruangbin appeared in Brooklyn, laying down a set of their extraterrestrial grooves for a sold-out Brooklyn Bowl? Does seem suspicious. Looking otherworldly and playing music that might very well come from another solar system where love and peace reign supreme, the actually-from-Austin, Texas, trio were in fine form last night. From the opening slow funk of “August Twelve,” the crowd was locked in, beamed up into Khruangbin’s spaceship bathed in kaleidoscope hues, ready to be probed, prodded and fully funkified.
It’s no easy task to find a completely unoccupied space in the musical spectrum, but Khruangbin have always felt perfectly situated in a just-groovy-enough, not-too-loud/not-too-soft, not-too-fast/not-too-slow space that no one else seems to have discovered yet. On repeated trips back to New York City, each time hopping up a level in crowd size and intensity, the trio has found ways to shed their alien skin, revealing something more elaborate and exciting beneath. On Wednesday, guitarist Mike Speer was given room for hairier solos than the last few area gigs, drummer Donald Johnson Jr. and bassist Laura Lee showing tour-tested comfort in giving him full freedom to explore.
The set gained propulsive energy as it went along, mostly songs from their breakout album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, highlighted by the zigzag melodies of “People Everywhere (Still Alive)” and the out-of-plane weirdness of “Dern Kala.” In a room that can sometimes swallow the more subtle acts, Khruangbin were ferociously funky, overwhelming Brooklyn Bowl as if it were only a pit stop on the way to something bigger. Thankfully for the crowd, the band’s phasers were merely set to stun—because they might not be so lucky next time. —A. Stein | @Neddyo