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Khruangbin: Newport Folk 2018

Khruangbin (photo by Mary Kang/PR)

Khruangbin (photo by Mary Kang/PR)

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Nothing felt better — at noon, during the third day of Newport Folk Festival — than standing in the shade of the enormous tent covering the "Quad Stage" and grooving to the globally-influenced funk, jazz, surf and psychedelic stew that is Khruangbin.

A power trio of an entirely different kind, this Houston band — Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums and piano — delivered a set pretty evenly split between their Thai-funk influenced 2015 debut, The Universe Smiles Upon You, and this year's more Middle Eastern-leaning album, Con Todo El Mundo. The pinnacle moment came with an instrumental medley that showcased a less obvious, and truly American, influence on their sound — hip-hop.

Follow along, if you can. The trio took us on a journey that seamlessly moved from Dr. Dre's "Next Episode" to Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day", on to Warren G's "Regulate" before circling back to Leon Haywood's 1975 hit "I Want'a Do Something Freaky To You" (famously sampled by Dr. Dre on "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang"). From there, "Summer Madness" by Kool & the Gang and finally bringing it in for a landing with Luniz's "I Got 5 On It" feat. Michael Marshall and "Mary Jane" by Rick James. Hearing these songs all through the Khruangbin sonic filter was not only a masterful live mixtape, but in the backdrop of Newport Folk Festival, was an exciting way to make musical worlds intersect.

Setlist:

  • "Dern Kala"
  • "August 10"
  • "Mr. White"
  • "Two Fish And An Elephant"
  • "Lady & Man"
  • "Evan Finds The Third Room"
  • "White Gloves"
  • "Next Episode"
  • "Today Was A Good Day"
  • "Regulate"
  • "Nothin' but a 'G' Thang"
  • "Summer Madness"
  • "Maria Tambien"
  • "People Everywhere (Still Alive)"

[Recorded: 7/29/18; See more Newport Folk Festival coverage from WFUV and NPR Music.]

NPR Music Credits: Technical Director:Josh Rogosin; Production Assistant: Téa Mottolese ; Location Recording facilities provided by Aura-Sonic, Ltd.; Producer: Suraya Mohamed; Photography: Adam Kissick. Special thanks to TuneIn's Newport Folk Radio.