Khruangbin hit me hard this past summer. I ended up buying all the vinyl I could get my hands on. I got every live show on YouTube I could find and immersed myself in a way that I haven’t in a long time. Fan boy stuff.
When I discovered they were coming to Madison I immediately got a ticket. I was stoked beyond belief.
The day before the show I practiced with the Ticketmaster app to make sure I could access my ticket (panic), gathered my vaccination card (still required) and packed my earplugs, aspirin and tums (show essentials).
My friend Shawn got a ticket and we were going to meet there. So I would have someone to talk to for hours before the show. I was going to be there when doors opened! He was in for it too.
I am going to put a fair amount of photos in this post, if you want to see all my pics from the show set to Khruangbin music, you can see that here:
The marquee was bright and I was able to get a good shot.
Shawn had checked out Nubya Garcia and said they were jazzy.
After I got the marquee shot I walked to the end of the line that had formed outside of about 25 people. I got out my phone to contact Shawn and like magic he was suddenly walking up to me in line. We had both arrived at the same time.
We made out way through the wrist banding tent and then through the ticket checking line with no issues. Then we glanced at the merch table, got a drink and then staked out claim to some rail space to the right side of the stage.
I had snuck back to the merch table and picked up a Khru hoodie, which I wore for the photo and then hid under my other sweatshirt and clutched tightly throughout the show.
Here is the Madison tour poster.
The opener Nubya Garcia was jazzy. They were a 4 piece. Keys, double bass, drums and Nubya on sax.
They were good and the crowd was into it. They are from London and she sounded as excited to see Khruangbin as we were.
After a quick stage turnover and the building of the Khruangbin set, which was 2 giant platforms made to look like space ships (?) with stairs coming off of each. There were also 2 giant disco balls which turned out to be a super great addition when the light show was going on.
Then the lights dimmed and it was ON.
Mark came out, Laura went up the stairs and put on her bass and DJ sat down at the kit. Now, there is really only 1 photo of mainly just DJ because I couldn’t really see him well from where we were largely due to the platforms. Sorry DJ. Here is the best shot I got.
The first song seemed like they might be having sound issues at the very start, but they got it worked out and I suddenly realized that with all the live shows I had listened to, and the vinyl albums, did not prepare me for the thump of the bass and the shredding of Mark’s guitar. During the second song there was a moment where the lights were flashing and Mark was shredding hard and I thought to myself, damn, this is rocking out! and it only got better from there.
The platforms were big, but both Mark and Laura made several trips down the steps and did stop/walk/pose struts back and forth across the stage. They were directly in front of me when they came down the stairs on our side.
Then they would take the stairs back to the platforms. The stage set was really quite cool. I don’t know that (except for Bowie back in the 80’s) I’ve seen a stage set up as elaborate.
The spaceship platforms lit up on the bottom and the light show bouncing off the disco balls was incredible.
Mark seemed to make his guitar sound like another voice, and considering he wasn’t standing over a pedal bank the whole show he did it with just his skills. I was blown away when he came down front and was doing both slow and fast bits right in front of us.
He just packed a lot into the sounds and the effect was truly amazing. His guitar isn’t flashy, he just uses it well. He did use effects when he was on the platform, but largely I think it was just for echo effects.
Here is a quick video snippet from the show
The huge stage backdrop seemed almost like velvet. It changed color with the stage lights. Then at one point they did the percussion on the bottles bit. The crows loved it. Mark would hammer out some notes on his smaller bottle and Laura would clink clink on the larger bottle she was holding. Pretty cool little aside during the show.
I was actually surprised at how often they came down the steps and came to stage front. It was a great way to connect with the audience. Mark even went all the way to the end of the stage and walked up on the speaker stacks. I think this may be the best shot I got that night, Mark down front with disco light backdrop.
They played a medley at one point that started with some Bowie. I was so surprised and busted out my phone to catch the last note of it (it was just a snippet) with my cell phone and I recorded for a while. They did some other snippets, including “Bennie and The Jets” and then transitioned into their own songs “Maria Tambien”. It was a nice treat. Here is that video clip.
After a few more they regrettably thanked the crowd and walked off. They soon were back for an encore though of course. Laura had changed clothes.
The crowd was dancing respectfully in their own bubbles and loving every moment. I was alternating between staring mesmerized and taking pictures. It was such an incredible show.
Again, the disco balls were a crucial element. They didn’t use laser lights and smoke machines, but damn, the light show stuck with me.
All too soon they said thank you and goodbye and the house lights came up. It was over. The show was really incredible and I knew I would like it, but the feeling of actually being there and hearing the music firsthand and feeling the bass thrumming and pounding through the air cannot be undersold.
If you have a chance to get out and see Khruangbin on the rest of their tour get yourself out there. You will not be disappointed.
It was a great show, got to reconnect with Shawn, made it home by just after midnight and my ears were fine by the weekend. And my hoodie made it back home in one piece. Khru! Good all around.
Come back to Madison soon Khruangbin!