Houston, Texas trio Khruangbin began their 21 date, coast-to-coast North American fall tour this week. Playing 14 shows in November and nine in December, you have two chances to see them in the Bay Area. Tonight, they headline the fabulous Fox Theater in Oakland, and after a weekend pair of SoCal shows, they make their way to The Catalyst in Santa Cruz on Tuesday, November 13.
Khruangbin is getting into the holiday spirit early, as they prepare to release an exciting update to the Vince Guaraldi’s classic “Christmas Time Is Here.” The track will be available Nov 16 on a limited edition 7″ pressed in green vinyl.
“Growing up the three of us all had very different Christmases,” says bassist Laura Lee. “But we recently discovered we all had the exact same favorite Christmas song. When we realized it, we sat down to play it and it came together instantly. In 15 minutes we had this recorded. It was like the best Christmas present ever.”
The band is touring behind their sophomore record Con Todo El Mundo, released in January 2018. In addition to being a cute second half of a call and response between Lee and her Mexican-American grandfather, the album title also has a deeper representation. Translated as “with all of the world,” Con Todo El Mundo takes inspiration not just from Southeast Asia but similarly underappreciated funk and soul from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, particularly Iran.
Khruangbin’s band members started getting to know each other in 2007. By 2010, the band featured Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums. After a solid touring experience with Bonobo, the trio recorded their first EP, The History Of Flight.
When asked to play their first gig, Laura Lee, who was learning to speak Thai at the time, decided they should use her favorite Thai word “khruangbin,” (เครื่องบิน) which means “flying engine” or “aeroplane”. Speer admits that, had they had the foresight to predict the band’s success, they may not have chosen a name that was so difficult to pronounce. Though the band’s name might be challenging to say, it symbolizes the international set of influences that shaped the band’s formation.
Those influences are also apparent throughout their debut record, The Universe Smiles Upon You. That album carries heavily influence from the 60’s and 70’s Thai cassettes the band listened to on their long car journeys to rehearse in the Texan countryside.
Check out this official video for the track “Como Me Quires,” which is the question Lee’s grandfather would ask to prompt the response that is Con Todo El Mundo.
Khruangbin, Will Van Horn
The Fox Theater
November 9, 2018
8pm, SOLD OUT
Khruangbin, Will Van Horn
November 13, 2018
8pm, SOLD OUT (16+)