Hanni El Khatib was born Palestinian and Filipino descent, the first American in his family, raised in San Francisco, California, where he performed music on the side while working as creative director at the skateboard fashion label HUF. He relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter and musician. His second album, 2013’s Head in the Dirt, was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
El Khatib has described his songs as being for anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train. While his music is not quite that violent, at the Bowery Ballroom tonight, El Khatib’s musical style percolated with a rawness that embraced garage rock and grungy blues. Guitarist/keyboardist Hayden Tobin, bassist Adrian Rodriguez and drummer Ron Marinelli helped El Khatib realize this sound, supporting him as he fuzzed his guitar leads or heightened the magnitude of a groove by playing one chord over and over again. At times the music sounded like it was inspired by a 1960s garage band, yet at times it leaned towards a Cramps-like punk sound. El Khatib is primarily a singer-songwriter, however, so the mash-up jams were meant to fortify his songs, not vice versa. Nevertheless, it was likely the passion of his delivery and the thrash of his rhythms that had his audience clamoring for more.
Visit Hanni El Khatib at www.hannielkhatib.com.