Multi-genre trio brings their slinky grooves to History

For a band with a hard-to-pronounce name and songs with almost no lyrics to sing along to, Khruangbin had little problem selling out three straight nights at History in Toronto. These two anecdotal points mean little when stacked up against the sheer immaculate vibes the Houston trio produces. Beyond not working within a genre of music, the band blends Eastern influences to spice up the grooves. In support of their 4th full-length album, A La Sala, Khruangbin began the tour of the same name in March with three shows at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Nearing the end of this leg, and after an upcoming pause before crossing the Atlantic for Euro festival season, night one of three in Toronto was a warm late spring night by Lake Ontario.

Opening this handful of shows is LA jazz keyboardist/composer/producer John Carroll Kirby. Kirby, known outside his own work for collabs with artists such as Solange, Kali Uchis, Bat For Lashes, Frack Ocean and Harry Styles, brought drummer William Alexander, bassist JP Maramba, keyboardist Danae Greenfield and flautist/saxophonist/hype man Logan Hone. Kirby’s music feels heavily influenced by ’80s Japanese jazz that didn’t get dissonant, oozed with melody and was forever dance-driven via the tight rhythm section.

Khruangbin emerged from the wings to a haze-filled stage. The backdrop was three simple arched windows with LED screens inside. The superb lighting was provided by lighting director, Kat Borderud. Opening the show with Fifteen Fifty-Three off the new album, bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speers and drummer Donald Johnson positioned themselves within the windows. With slow movements, the band played a first set of all twelve tracks on A La Sala. Highlights included May Ninth, Juegos y Nubes and A Love International. Set two reached back into the Khruangbin catalogue to play tracks from Con Todo El Mundo, debut, The Universe Smiles Upon You and Mordechai. The perpetual swaying and hipshaking had to end for the night. On this one, the sold-out crowd’s good night was the ‘hit’ People Everywhere (Still Alive). Night two was again a full playthrough of the latest album with a different mix of songs for the second set. John Carroll Kirby joined the ‘Bins for Lady and Man.

At the time of writing, night three has just started and the set list will be revealed as the evening unfolds.

Khruangbin hit Detroit on June 4, Columbus on June 5 and another three-night stand in Chicago starting on June 7. Heading south, the band plays a pair of shows in Raleigh and Asheville, NC before closing the North American dates at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival just outside Nashville, TN.

More info can be found here.


Aron Harris
Aron Harris is ADDICTED Magazine's music editor as well as a contributor. As a graphic designer, writer and photographer, you can find his work all over ADDICTED. He also geeks out over watches, pizza, bass guitars and the Grateful Dead.
Aron Harris

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