Psychedelic Rockers Khruangbin Steam Up The First Avenue Mainroom Tuesday Night


Khruangbin brought warm funk to the First Avenue Mainroom on a chilly Tuesday night. The Texas based psychedelic funk trio are out touring in support of their latest release “Con Todo El Mundo”.  This was the band’s third trip to the Twin Cities this year and are creating quite a following, and the packed venue was proof of buzz they have created.

Supporting Khruangbin Tuesday night was Ginger Root. Self-described as “aggressive elevator soul”, this SoCal based band got the crowd moving right out of the gate. Front man Cameron Lew manned the keyboards and had backup from an Anthony on bass and Matt on drums. Together the band had a raw, funky vibe. The title track off their release Spotlight People got some serious head bobs going, while “Emulous” seemed to get the loudest audience response.

Khruangbin came on right around 9pm, with deeply reverbed guitar notes that seemed to radiate from every corner of the Mainroom. Without a word the band launched into “Bin Bin”, bass high in the mix and pounding the cheering audience right in the solar plexus. Bassist Laura Lee and guitarist Mark Seer created a sultry, intimate mood. As pink spotlights swept the crowd, the glow highlighted people closed-eyed and swaying to the groove. The normally self-restrained Midwest crowd was transformed into something resembling a bliss filled hive of molly dosed bees. A glorious bacchanal. The band seemed as intoxicated by the music as the rest of the room, barely acknowledging the crowd, obviously there to drop a load of dopeness on Minneapolis. This band pisses cool.

With a vibe reminiscent of an exotic tropical beach bar, dreamy song seamlessly wove into dreamy song. The chill outside was forgotten, and garments were dropped. Bodies moved and intertwined, someone may end up pregnant. The deftness with which Seer bends the stings, greasy and unctuous, underlie the spectral sound of the band as a whole. Was that notes of Sade? Ice Cube? Did they just play “Regulators”?  I can’t be sure, but the set was amazing. Drummer Donald Johnson was deep in the pocket, Parliament funky on the drums throughout the night.

Musical universes collided Tuesday night. The word cool has been overused and has lost its meaning over the years. Khruangbin was next level cool on Tuesday night.