The Shacks, Khryangbin & Chicano Batman @ Fox Theatre in Oakland, CA
Review & Photography by: Robert Alleyne
Khruangbin and Chicano Batman co-headlined Oakland’s Fox Theater on Friday, November 10th. The show was the first stop on the West Coast as part of their national tour.
Khruangbin’s debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, released in 2016, is an ode instrumental soulful funk. It is not music to get lost in; it is music to transport you places. As they perform – there is a coolness about everything they do; the warm bass from Laura Lee and the, sometimes extravagant, lead guitars from Mark Speer flatter each other throughout the set. Throwbacks to classic riffs such Sukiyaki entertain, and a rendition of the famous Leon Haywards riff, immortalized by Dr. Dre on Nuthin But A G Thang, inspires sporadic rapping throughout the busy floor section of the audience. Khruangbin’s power is their ability to be subtle – drummer Donald Johnson displayed this comically when he took a long, silent, pause at the end of his short drum solo, to which Speer responded: “sometimes, less is more!”
Chicano Batman’s performance, which leaned heavily on their 2017 release, Freedom is Free, was an empowering, mixture of Latin American sounds through the gaze of a generation raised in the US. The four-piece (Bardo Martinez, Eduardo Arenas, Carlos Arévalo and Gabriel Villa), Los Angeles based band 2008 elicited a strong reaction from the crowd throughout; songs like Freedom Is Free capture the mood of a nation, and others kept the crowd dancing late into the night.
Opening the evening were The Shacks, a dreamy and soulful rock band from Queens, New York, with a flair for the retro. Friday night in Oakland was a celebration of culture and music – which energized, soothed and moved.
Make sure to pick up a ticket to see them live in a city near you here