Event Review: Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace (London; Thursday 14th April 2022)
Khruangbin die-hard fans, to whom the mellow soft indie vocals of ‘White Gloves’, and the cyclical surfer guitar grooves of ‘People Everywhere’ are so familiar – we could all be forgiven for forgetting Khurangbin’s debut album came out seven years ago, and whilst Mordechai, their latest full album, came out in 2020… a slew of COVID related cancellations and postponements meant an epically long suspenseful wait to see the Texas trio in full musical action.
Alexandra Palace, warmly referred to as Ally Pally by frequent visitors, is a legendary and beautiful venue originally used as a greenhouse space to showcase scientific works – and its innovation felt fitting and gracious for the unique sounds and aesthetics of Khruangbin. The stage was adorned with the biggest and shiniest disco balls I’ve encountered, furthermore the trio were wearing matching disco suits, with matching long haired wigs – immediately making their identities androgynous, and anonymous from one another.
No clearer sign of this was the fact the trio didn’t stop playing music for one note throughout the evening – seamlessly blending their own original favourites from all albums, with tasters of their personal musical fabric. They chose to dedicate, I’d say, perhaps nearly one third of their concert to performing covers… the covers seemed to inform the originals they were sandwiched between, giving the overall impression you were meeting the musicians and their tastes, evolving a vision of how the albums we’ve loved for so long came into fruition. It felt as though they had opened a door into their minds, and calmly and cooly invited us all in for the evening for some song sharing and dancing.
The synergy between the musicians and their completely in-sync grooves clicked the entire audience into place, almost hypnotically demanding an almost meditative focus on their musical offering.
All the classics were heard, and the latest album beautifully debuted live. There was only one whisper of disappointment, from what otherwise was one of the most anticipated and successful, transcendent and engaging concerts since (perhaps 2015 some fans could argue, but certainly) since COVID has allowed our friends from across the pond to come over once more. This was that the Leon Bridges band, who heavily collaborated on the Texas Sun record, didn’t make a surprise guest appearance…Not a bad complaint to have, all things considered.
Hard to believe that such a dire and dramatic year could inspire such an abundance of remarkable albums. Or maybe, on the contrary, the multitude of emotions sparked by the pandemic and our new life’s circumstances might have been the main reasons why musicians were able to write, record and…