Chicano Batman + Khruangbin 10/5 and 10/6
Oct. 16, 2017, 11:57 a.m.
Two of our djs made it out to Chicano Batman shows last week. Ketaki: It’s a humid October night at Irving Plaza. Clusters of friend groups in their mid-thirties buzz around the venue while Khruangbin, the opening band plays. Khruangbin’s intricate pieces of psychedelic music, relaxed tempo and joyful style are the perfect prelude to Chicano Batman’s rambunctious set. Frontman Mark Speers’ bangs are as long and well-fashioned as his trance-like guitar solos. After a guest singer and relaxed repartee with the crowd, Khruangbin are over, and without delay, the charming Chicano Batman are on stage. Chicano Batman are energetic, a whirl of brown curls, ruffled shirts and suits, something like a brazen tropicalia purple-rain-era-Prince crossed with Shakespeare-in-love. They kick off their generous set with ‘Angel Child’ and the crowd are responsive, feet moving to the dancing beat. Highlights of the set include the somehow both reggae and mariachi-esque ‘La Manzanita’, spunky ‘The Ballad of Raymundo Jacquez’ and the joyous ‘Freedom is Free’ in which lead singer Bardo Martinez breaks a guitar string, an incident seamlessly rectified in seconds. Overall Chicano Batman’s unique style of latin-infused guitar music and fun-loving approach to performance make for a total treat to watch live! Raji: I’ve been a fan of LA-based psych/soul/jazz group Chicano Batman for a while, so I was unbelievably excited to go to this show. I’d been to a concert at Warsaw before, so I kind of knew what to expect from the venue - fairly large and quickly crowded. What I was surprised to see when I arrived was the spread of people attending, ranging from preteens to a much older crowd. This mismatch was easily noticeable in the energy of the room, which was mixed at best. Regardless, the performances of the night were absolutely fantastic. I’d been only tangentially familiar with Khruangbin’s work before - I listened to “White Gloves” off their The Universe Smiles Upon You LP a fair bit last winter - but I was absolutely blown away by their stage presence that night! It was a fun set - guitarist Mark Speer and bassist Laura Lee had great chemistry, read the crowd well, and the band delivered a really interesting, solid psych set. Chicano Batman’s set surpassed every single one of my expectations, which were already astronomically high. Frontman Bardo Martinez was an absolute gem; high-energy, fun to watch, and interactive. The band clearly had a great time on stage together and enjoyed the performance as much as the audience did. They played a nice mix of newer and older cuts, as well as a bit of new material. Seeing them live is honestly a completely different experience from just streaming their music - I cannot recommend the experience highly enough. If you ever get a chance to see them perform, go! You absolutely will not regret it. The stage design for their set was mystical, as you can tell from photographs. It added to what was already a highly immersive and surreal show. In all, the show was a fantastic experience! Warsaw’s accessibility and spaciousness draws a large crowd, which is to be expected for music as good as Friday night’s. Be sure to check out Khruangbin & Chicano Batman’s future shows, and visit Warsaw if you're around! Our thanks to Irving Plaza, Warsaw, and Live Nation for sending WBAR to the shows! Catch Ketaki on these beats are made 4 walkin', every Friday at 8am. Raji and Shiloh spin jams on their show, Real Cool Time Together, every Saturday at 12pm.