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Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace: one hell of a trip

Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace: one hell of a trip

Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace
Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace
Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace
Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace +6
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Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace

Last night Khruangbin transported us with their mellow vibes and captivating stage presence on a journey through multiple albums. With their signature minimal vocals and global influences, the sold out show was a journey from start to finish. 

As people from all corners of London assembled, it felt like an unofficial festival was starting on the hillside of Alexandra Palace. Everyone was there to have a good time and the space was set up for exactly that.

One thing that was noticeable was that the crowd was as diverse as the range of sounds we hear in Khruangbin’s music with their broad range of cultural influences. It’s rare to find a band that appeals to an age range as wide as this and there was a real sense of community amongst the crowd. If there was any time you’d want to queue for merch, it’d have been for this tour as it featured artwork made specifically for each show, showcasing unique talent from artists all over the world.

Time slowed down as the trio walked out through the haze of blue lighting to the intergalactic introduction to First Class (Mordechai). Lee and Speers appeared to be in perfect unison, guitars in hand as they slowly raised their heads and gave the audience a first glimpse of the iconic wigs we’d been waiting to see. Although this song felt distinctly different to their others, it was the perfect start to the show, building gradually and captivating us all with their sexy-cool vocals and sensual hip swaying to match. Next up was August 12 (The Universe Smiles upon You), a chillingly familiar song and sound that is signature to Khruangbin. The trio teased the audience with the winding melody and had us all completely hooked. After a long but worthy build-up, they blew us away with a true rock ‘n’ roll style finish, strobe lights and all. 

Khruangbin @ Alexandra Palace

We seamlessly travelled through their years of material, going back as far as their EP in 2014 (The Infamous Bill) mixed with their more recent tracks. Their albums Mordechai and Con Todo el Mundo featured heavily in the set list. Pelota (Mordechai) and Maria También (Con Todo el Mundo) were particularly energetic and gave the crowd a dose of truly timeless international funk. By this time, the party was in full swing with two humongous disco balls letting off enough light to cover the entire Great Hall.

One of the highlights of the show had to be the whopping 15 song medley they closed with. The audience was in raptures listening intently to identify each cover before they smoothly transitioned into the next. It was obvious the arrangement had been compiled specifically for the U.K as we heard their rendition of the Eastenders theme song (practically a national anthem) which was evidently appreciated by the crowd.  Other covers included Gypsy Woman by Crystal Water, Wicked Game by Chris Isaak, Get Money by The Notorious B.I.G. and Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang by Dr. Dre to name a few. The range of songs and genres they managed to blend was mind-blowing. Their choice of closing song matched their opening, bringing back the mellow vibe with their cover of Kool & the Gang’s Summer Madness before leaving the stage.

After all the excitement from the medley the audience stood their ground and chanted for an encore. It didn’t take long before Speers returned to the stage, giving us an intimate, stripped back solo performance. Johnson joined Speers again on the stage but we still had no idea what was to come. Within minutes, the crowd went wild once again, as Lee returned to the stage after a swift outfit change. Dressed from head to toe in hot pink, feathers and sequins, she deserved to have her moment. 

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The encore was definitely worth staying for as we devoured an extra four songs, most of which were from their 2015 album, The Universe Smiles Upon You. They wisely chose to save a fan favourite, Time (You and I), for the encore, which had the whole crowd singing along. The grand finale was another surprising blend, mixing People Everywhere (Still Alive) and the classic hit Rhythm is a Dancer by Snap! Which had the crowd fisting pumping and dancing until the very last beat.

The supporting act, Secret Night Gang, from Manchester were enjoyable to watch and really set the tone of the show. They had a jazzy R&B sound, with smooth vocals from the lead singer complimented by the alto sax. The drummer was one of the most memorable aspects of their performance, with his animated and playful energy, he looked like he was having the time of his life.

Overall the night truly left us on a high and exceeded our expectations. Khruangbin’s effortlessly cool style and captivating melodies confirmed to us that this trio really are one of a kind.

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