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Khruangbin and Vieux Farka Toure at Prospect Park: Live performance Overview


As New York found in no unsure phrases final summer time when the star-studded “We Love NYC” live performance in Central Park was abruptly canceled lower than midway earlier than it was over, the specter of lightning is not any joke on the subject of out of doors occasions. And though thunderclouds and a few critical lightning flashes had been a backdrop for Khruangbin and Vieux Farka Toure’s live performance at a BRIC Have fun Brooklyn live performance on the New York borough’s Prospect Park, they handed to the south with out a drop of rain, and the utterly sold-out live performance went on with out incident from Mom Nature — aside from some characteristically brutal NYC summer time humidity.

Khruangbin, a trio from Houston that performs principally instrumental music, is a band as uncommon as their title, and what was maybe most outstanding in regards to the live performance was the dimensions of the densely packed crowd — there aren’t many bands like them who’re well-liked sufficient to promote out New York’s 6,000-seat Radio Metropolis Music Corridor, which they did earlier this 12 months. Whereas they had been initially (broadly) categorized as a substitute act and shortly embraced by the Pitchfork contingent, the straightforward groove of their music — highlighted by Mark Speer’s effortlessly beautiful guitar taking part in — and a sequence of high-profile pageant appearances quickly introduced them an enormous following with the jam-band viewers. Each audiences had been out in power at this live performance and grooving joyfully to the group’s headlining set, which drew closely from their two most up-to-date albums, 2018’s “Con Todo el Mundo” and 2020’s “Mordechai” (leaving off alternatives from their two most up-to-date releases, a pair of EPs with Leon Bridges on vocals).


In contrast to most instrumental-based rock bands, Khruangbin don’t visitors in depth: Actually, they’re downright laid-back. Speer, indisputably the most effective guitarists to emerge up to now decade, performs astonishing melodic licks virtually offhandedly, typically fingerpicking a lead and arpeggiated chords on the identical time, whereas bassist Laura Lee and Donald “DJ” Johnson maintain down the unhurried rhythms easily. It’s not that they couldn’t play extra closely or hit more durable; they simply don’t. Speer and Lee additionally know methods to fill a stage, striding from one facet to the opposite, often putting poses just like the one above whereas a pair of massive disco balls and a few vibrant lighting present an appropriately moody backdrop.

The group stretched out their 90-minute-plus-long set with some winking nods to New York’s musical legacy, with instrumental snippets of Tom Tom Membership’s “Genius of Love,” the oft-sampled Shadows tune “Apache” and even Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message.” In addition they sprinkled some much less on-message covers into the set, together with a phase of Spandau Ballet’s 1985 hit “True” (huh?) and Kool & the Gang’s “Summer time Insanity.”

But the really particular second got here throughout the encore, when the viewers even bought a preview of the group’s forthcoming collaborative album with Vieux, “Ali.” The album is an homage to Vieux’s father Ali Farka Toure, who performed an enormous function in forging the guitar-driven Malian sound that has borne fruit with such acts as Tinariwen, Mdou Moctar and naturally Vieux himself. He and his three fellow musicians (bass, drums and percussion) performed a rousing opening set, after which Vieux joined Khruangbin for the encore, a tune from the album titled “Mahine Me.” He and Speer traded guitar licks, each peeling off lightning-fast leads in tribute to a person whose music was a colossal affect on each, bringing thunder to the stage whereas the lightning, fortunately, stayed properly south of the venue.



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