Live performance Assessment: Khruangbin Space Walk Tour on the Fillmore Miami Beach May 8, 2022

Houston trio Khruangbin’s dwell performances have at all times been about setting a vibe. That’s not meant to be a backhanded praise. Laura Lee, Mark Speer, and Donald “DJ” Johnson are consultants at creating the appropriate temper for his or her funk-laden model of psychedelic rock.

On Sunday night time, the band took the stage on the Fillmore Miami Beach for the second night time in a row. Addressing the gang, Speer acknowledged that anybody who’d attended Saturday’s present can be mildly disillusioned that the setlist can be almost the identical, jokingly including that “deviation is purely coincidental.”

What was not a joke was that opener Toro y Moi could not make the second present, owing to a optimistic COVID-19 check. That was certainly a disappointment, contemplating that Chaz Bundick is a headliner in his personal proper. Taking his place was A Tribe Called Quest founding member Jarobi White who DJ’ed to an keen crowd for the higher a part of an hour.

Finally, round 9:15 p.m., Khruangbin appeared in opposition to a backdrop that resembled a Seventies sci-fi film set — acceptable, contemplating that is the band’s Space Walk Tour.

The set opened with “First Class,” and the album opener from 2020’s Mordechai served as a correct introduction to the extent of chill the present would come to embody. You got here to the incorrect present in case you entered the Fillmore anticipating a high-energy efficiency. That’s to not say Khruangbin lacked oomph onstage. In reality, the band oozes stage presence. Lee slunk round, strumming her bass and teasing the gang together with her pure charisma (and a costume slit to the thigh). Perched excessive above his bandmates, Johnson exuded easy cool behind the drums. Then there was Speer, who may need the perfect hair in music proper now, and who oscillated between intercourse in a go well with and handsomely humorous all through the night.

By the time the band labored via its smash hit “So We Won’t Forget,” Khruangbin had the gang consuming out of its hand. The observe is tailored for communal singalongs: “Ooooooooooh/One to remember/Writing it down now/So we won’t forget.” It additionally was the second it dawned on me that this was the primary time Khruangbin had carried out in Miami exterior of a pageant setting.

In some ways, the band is constructed for pageant consumption: chill vibes, retro aesthetics, easy-to-digest melodies, all match the pageant invoice. And certainly, the gang on the Fillmore on Sunday felt like a microcosm of what you would possibly discover at a music pageant: chill frat bros in baseball caps, Kylie Jenner clones who could have been there principally to say they went, and a contingent that clearly wished they’d been conceived at Woodstock in ’69. Hell, even producer/DJ Diplo walked via the gang to catch a couple of songs.

click on to enlarge Guitarist Mark Speer at the Fillmore Miami Beach on Sunday, May 8. - PHOTO BY JOSE D. DURAN

Guitarist Mark Speer on the Fillmore Miami Beach on Sunday, May 8.

Photo by Jose D. Duran

But even all these disparate demographics could not assist however be enraptured by the efficiency. During “Evan Finds the Third Room,” Lee — the trio’s hottest member by a protracted shot  — declared “Yes!” in a approach that sounded each matter-of-fact and orgasmic, as Speer and Johnson adopted up with “This is the third room.”

Other standouts included dwell interpretations of “Pelota,” “New Bill,” and “Maria También.” But the showstoppers at any Khruangbin present are the instrumental medleys. The first kicked off with David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” earlier than working in Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money,” Spandau Ballet’s “True,” and Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”

At one level, I could not assist however really feel that the entire present had a Tarantino soundtrack high quality to it — and 5 minutes later, the trio launched into Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” (AKA the Pulp Fiction theme tune).

The climax got here with the band’s instrumental cowl of the 1992 hit by Snap!, “Rhythm Is a Dancer.” It was the second you may distinguish between the Gen X and Millennial attendees and the youthful viewers members, as a perplexed look fell on Gen Z attendees who appeared unaware that the tune had lyrics. The Nineties dance-music tribute continued because the band blended in Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless),” turning the Fillmore into a large dance membership for the following ten minutes as the 2 large disco balls mirrored the sunshine over the whole area.

Finally, after a break and a name for an encore, the band returned to carry out “White Glove,” “Time (You and I),” and “People Everywhere (Still Alive).” Lee had became a glittery fringe costume that would not have been misplaced at Studio 54 — naturally, the gang went wild. Lee has turn into each a music and elegance icon to many, and the rapturous applause directed towards her all night time made it clear who was the gang favourite.

Yet Khruangbin has soared to recognition due to the energy of all of its members. It’s not blazing up the charts — Mordechai peaked at quantity 31 on the Billboard 200 — however the band did handle to promote out back-to-back exhibits on the Fillmore Miami Beach, which is in no way a small venue.

If you are on the lookout for proof that the charts aren’t a sign of success in 2022, it is the nonstop adoration Khruangbin continues to get pleasure from — album gross sales be damned!


– “First Class”
– “August 12”
– “The Number 4”
– “August 10″/”Night Nurse”
– ‘So We Won’t Forget”
– “Lady and Man”
– “Evan Finds the Third Room”
– “New Bill”
– “Pelota”
– Medley #1
– Medley #2
– “María También” / “Misirlou” / “Apache”

– “White Gloves”
– “Time (You and I)”
– “People Everywhere (Still Alive)”

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