Khruangbin Dazzle Packed Radio City Music Hall on Night One

Khruangbin Dazzle Packed Radio City Music Hall on Night One

March 10, 2022

Khruangbin – Radio City Music Hall – March 9, 2022

In the 2020s when concerts took a little hiatus, certain bands saw meteoric rises in their popularity. The Houston-based Khruangbin are certainly one of those acts, burning hotter than the Texas sun as they head into 2022 with a short tour of big venues, including two nights at Radio City Music Hall. It makes sense that in quarantine times, music fans trapped in their homes and away from live shows gravitated toward music that sounds like it’s from everywhere.

While the hard to pronounce Khruangbin translates to airplane in Thai, their Radio City stage setup on Wednesday night had the trio on top of what looked like descending UFOs, with guitarist Mark Speer and bassist Laura Lee donning their signature matching black wigs with bangs, and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson between them in a rhinestone cowboy getup. It’s a rare site to see a three-piece band in such a massive venue, but Khruangbin were made to fill space. Speer asked the audience to introduce themselves to their neighbors and on the count of three to shout their neighbors’ names [shout-out to mine, Luke and Matt], then blasted off into space with jams that touch on every worldly genre.

Speer and Lee alternated walking past each other and around the whole stage, with Speer ripping through riffs reminiscent of the desert blues of the African Sahara with a Texas desert-rock twist. Surf rock was ever present, too, with Khruangbin briefly delving into Dick Dale’s classic “Miserlou.” They played a rendition of the reggae classic “Bam Bam” by Sister Nancy with a Roland Space Echo on steroids, bouncing from the edges of the known galaxy. Khruangbin love their covers. Without spoiling too many surprises, a danceable highlight of the night was the disco balls dropping for a grab bag of unexpected covers, including some David Bowie, MF Doom classics and other well-known rap instrumentals, alongside Sir Elton’s “Benny and the Jets.”

The effortlessly cool and hot Laura Lee took her own moments to walk the stage, including up and down the stairs of her own UFO platform several times while playing bass, an impressive feat for someone in white stilettos. In addition to authoring some truly funky bass riffs, she is well-known for her stage outfits, vowing to never repeat a look. There was even a wardrobe change for their encore, which closed out the show with “People Everywhere (Still Alive).” Yes, there were (and yes, we are). —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

(Khruangbin play Radio City Music Hall again tonight.)

(Khruangbin play Roadrunner in Boston on 3/17-18.)

(Khruangbin play Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Va., on 5/4.)

Photos courtesy of Toby Tenenbaum | @TobyTenenbaum

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