The Natural History Museum’s last of their First Fridays of the year went out with a bang with headliner Hanni El Khatib. Khatib, who recently released his 3rd studio album entitled Moonlight showed off his unusual and darkly talented self. He opened with the title track from his new album and then carried on with a set very evenly mixed with tracks from all three of his albums. Fans were most responsive to his older tracks and cheered loudly as he let out his signature garage blues grind. “You Rascal You” from 2011’s Will The Guns Come Out included an extended solo exemplifying Khatib’s skill for making his guitar snarl. There is certainly a Black Keys influence there, and not only because Dan Auerbach recorded Khatib’s 2nd album Head In The Dirt, but because both artists come from a similar ilk – loose blues grooves on the fringe of being more than simply derivative. Khatib closed the night with “Two Brothers” from Moonlight which included a bit of crowd-surfing, giving his fans one last thing to latch on to. Literally.
Khatib was supported by retro-infused latin group Chicano Batman who, dressed in ruffled tuxedo shirts, quickly got the crowd moving. Their excitable fans danced and pumped-fists to the band’s unique amalgam of bossa nova, cumbia, psychedelia, rock and latin soul certainly not too progressive-meets-regressive for this crowd.
Also opening was LA-based Avid Dancer who started off the night with a pleasant and mellow set of sway-worthy breeze-rock.