Last Night: Khruangbin at 713 Music Hall

Khruangin's Laura Lee
Khruangin's Laura Lee Photo by Marco Torres
713 Music Hall
May 11, 2022

Diversity is an essential part of Houston's identity.

The most populous city in Texas is known for oil, astronauts and medicine; for Tex-Mex, banh mi and crawfish; for Beyonce, DJ Screw and ZZ Top. So when a band like Khruangbin comes along, blending just about every genre under the sun into a cohesive and accessible sound, it really shouldn't come as a surprise that they hail from H-Town.

On tour in support of their third studio album Mordechai, the Texas trio visited a sold-out 713 Music Hall on Wednesday for a concert that had been delayed by more than four months due to an "urgent health scare" in late December. Despite the postponement, their homecoming was well-received at the sold-out venue.

For 90 minutes, Khruangbin captivated the crowd with its psychedelic fusion of Spanish, Middle Eastern and '60s era Thai music. Their global influences notwithstanding, the group also made time for an instrumental melody that included nods to Warren G, Nate Dogg and Ice Cube, among others.
click to enlarge Mark Speer, Donald "DJ" Johnson and Laura Lee - PHOTO BY MARCO TORRES
Mark Speer, Donald "DJ" Johnson and Laura Lee
Photo by Marco Torres
Three records, five EPs and a handful of remixes into their career, Khruangbin remains elusive. Categorizing their music is a difficult task given the range of influences bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer and percussionist Donald "DJ" Johnson, Jr. bring to the table. Many have described it simply as "a vibe," as something that you just have to hear for yourself.

While that may sound trite, it's also true. Wednesday's show could have passed as pleasant background noise if you weren't paying attention. There were times when the volume came down enough that Speer's guitar was barely audible over the hum of the crowd. But when Khruangbin was performing the likes of "Pelota" and "White Gloves," fans were mesmerized by the three performers onstage, their outfits and the two disco balls spinning above their heads.

Since 2015's The Universe Smiles Upon You, Khruangbin has been charming audiences and critics alike as its members have grown into cult celebrities. And if last night's performance, the band's feverish output and the millions of listeners around the globe are any indication, Khruangbin is well on its way to becoming another important aspect of Houston's already diverse identity.

August Twelve
Dern Kala
August 10
The Infamous Bill
So We Won't Forget
Lady And Man
Evan Finds The Third Room
Summer Madness
Maria Tambien

First Class
White Gloves
Time (You And I)
People Everywhere (Still Alive)
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever