King Khan & the Shrines Sons of Hermann Hall Monday, February 6
It's hard to tell who King Khan is channeling when he gets on stage. James Brown comes to mind first, as does Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He sings about the important things: Mainly sex, food and rock 'n' roll. Also, the man has style. He came out in a satin cape, gold glitter blouse and feathered headdress. Yes, he was wearing a blouse and he doesn't give a fuck.
Seems like King Khan and his eight-piece Shrines have been perpetually on the road, and while last night's show was one of the tamer KK&TS shows I've seen, they were still fueled by the psych-soul voodoo that is their music, and possibly something otherworldly, too.
First and foremost, they're a dance party band, and they gave the crowd a bow from their last proper album, 2008's The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines. "Land of the Freak," "Outta Harm's Way," "Welfare Bread" and "Took My Lady to Dinner" got the crowd all lathered up, and I strongly believe "I Wanna Be a Girl" may be a perfect song, its distorted notes matching Khan's psycho-howl with ease.
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"Stone Soup" got into extended jam territory, and when Khan put his cape up to his face and went around the stage striking various band members with his voodoo hand, Screamin' Jay was no doubt watching and grinning from Sons of Hermann's ceiling.
I've seen Khan & the Shrines four times now, and they're bringing something not a lot of bands are bringing these days: a spectacle. Was really hoping for a Soul Train dance line, though. I bet Don Cornelius was in the building too.
By the way: They debuted a new song, plus a song dedicated to Jay Reatard.
Random note: Khan is the obvious focus, but that three-piece horn section is their secret weapon.