Marfa Myths 2019: Khruangbin and Money Chicha
By Sarah M. Vasquez
The night didn't include many lyrics to sing along to, but the crowd didn't mind because they came to dance. Money Chicha and Khruangbin brought the party to the first night of the Marfa Myths Music Festival, organized by New York record label Mexican Summer and non-profit arts foundation Ballroom Marfa.
Once the stage lights switched to red per the band's request, Money Chicha got to it, playing South American-inspired funk that got everyone moving. The crowd in the packed Marfa Visitor Center/USO Building seemed hesitant at first, but as the Austin band played on, a collection of festivalgoers and locals swirled into a cumbia pit in front of the stage. The infectious melodies spread to the back of the room and everyone was having a good time. No surprise, as the members hail from Latin-funk band Brownout and Grammy award-winning band Grupo Fantasma.
To honor the late Prince, who passed away around this time two years ago, Money Chicha played an instrumental cover of “Let's Go Crazy” that naturally brought the energy to another level. By the time their set was done, the crowd's energy was ready for Houston funk soul band Khruangbin, including Money Chicha, even though they couldn't pronounce the band's name.
Khruangbin kept the party going with their shimmer and shine. The trio danced along with the crowd and at times interacted with each other. Some bands don't need to rely on on-stage banter or witty lyrics to win a crowd over, and Khruangbin's music proves that. One couple wore Khruangbin t-shirts, traveling 10 hours from the Valley to dance front and center during the trio's set.
Singer/guitarist Mark Speer encouraged everyone to make friends that night and, under his direction, the crowd shook hands and introduced themselves to each other. It was a fitting gesture, considering this festival takes place in the friendly state and there are three more days of watching music in crowded spaces.
Midway through the set, Khruangbin threw in some instrumental covers, from 90s hip hop treasures to Chris Isaak's “Wicked Games,” and the crowd ate it up. Phones went up in the air to document the moment for the rest of the internet.
The crowd lingered after Khruangbin's set and share their excitement, proving that these seasoned bands gave Marfa Myths a strong start.