The Houston trio Khruangbin comprises Mark Speer on guitar, Laura Lee on bass and Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr. on drums. The group plays a mix of psychedelia, funk, soul, surf music and instrumental rock infused with elements of dub and world music. Its debut album, 2015's The Universe Smiles Upon You, incorporates elements from traditional Thai music of the '60s, and its follow-up, Con Todo El Mundo, includes elements of Middle Eastern and Spanish music.
Like a Flying Engine
Johnson and Speer first met and started playing together in their church's gospel band with Johnson on organ and Speer on guitar. Speer and Lee met through mutual friends and connected instantly over their shared appreciation of architecture from the Middle East and music from Afghanistan. Speer began teaching Lee how to play bass, and the pair proceeded to tour with Bonobo and Yppah. After the tour, Speer and Lee began honing their sound in a barn and invited Johnson to join them to provide break-beats. All subsequent recording sessions for the group that would become Khruangbin took place in that Burton, Texas, building. Upon the group's first invitation to play live, Lee, who was studying the Thai language at the time, came up with the band's name, using the Thai word for "airplane" or "flying engine." In addition to making music, the members of Khruangbin also host a streaming broadcast called AirKhruang on Facebook Live and NTS Radio.
Where can I buy Khruangbin tickets?
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What can I expect from Khruangbin?
In addition to the uniquely eclectic music, Khruangbin shows are marked by the black wigs Speer and Lee almost always wear while performing. The original purpose of the wigs was as a disguise for when the band members were trying to move between the stage and the merchandise table at concerts without fans identifying them.
Who are Khruangbin's influences?
Khruangbin's musical influences are as ethnically, geographically and stylistically diverse as the band's sound. Just some of the influences you may note in Khruangbin's live performances include Googoosh from Iran, Sutrak Akson-thong from Thailand, Barrington Levy from Jamaica, Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg from France and Parliament from the US.
What songs might I hear in a Khruangbin set list?
Songs you may hear at a Khruangbin concert include "A Calf Born in Winter," "White Gloves," "Maria También," "Friday Morning," "Spotify Shingles" and "Christmas Time is Here." You'll also likely hear selections from Khruangbin's studio albums The Universe Smiles Upon You, Con Todo El Mundo and Hasta El Cielo, as well as its extended plays Khruangbin and The Infamous Bill.
Where can I see a Khruangbin show?
Check out Khruangbin live at venues like The Republik in Honolulu, Hawaii; The Ground Miami in Miami, Fla.; Brooklyn Steel in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the Royale in Boston, Mass.; Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pa.; and First Avenue in Minneapolis, Minn. You can also see Khruangbin perform at a number of music festivals like the Pickathon Music Festival at Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Ore.; the Lockn' Festival at Infinity Downs Farm in Arrington, Va.; THING at McCurdy Pavilion in Port Townsend, Wash.; the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Ill.; and the Popload Festival at Memorial de América Latina in São Paulo, Brazil.
Which artists are similar to Khruangbin?
If you appreciate the music and live performances of Cymande, Kikagaku Moyo, El Michels Affair, Menahan Street Band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Budos Band, Allah-Las, Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2, Chicano Batman or Drugdealer, then you're also likely to enjoy a Khruangbin concert.Back to Top