Free Week Live Shots
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Jan. 8, 2016
Evan Wynn comes off as the love child of John Lennon and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker. That makes Chakra Khan one of Austin's best psychedelic bands. Even so, the local quintet played to a relatively small crowd upstairs at Lamberts on the first full night of Free Week. Employing Orange tube amps, Sixties nostalgia, and kaleidoscopic synths, they'd be easy to pigeonhole as revivalists, but live, Chakra Khan embarks on an experimental quest that travels far beyond pastiche. "Loving Is Growing" featured exploratory guitar melodies and light disorientation as Wynn's vocals oozed falsetto-dripped soul. In moments like "Give Up (Don't Give)," the fivepiece showcased jam-band aspects of classic rock. Accordingly, each member demonstrated the confidence and chops to step out center stage and solo. While Wynn wailed feather-light, nasal croons, drummer Matt McLellan pinwheeled the drum-kit, and the group's lead guitarist, Roland Roberts, shredded into panoramic 3-D mode. At times with Chakra Khan, you can't help but feel small. So much goes on it can become dizzying, but it's unforced, and that alone overcomes the toughest challenge in the genre.