Bad Sports, The Fresh & Onlys, King Khan & The Shrines
Sons of Hermann Hall
April 6th, 2010
Better than: eating mushrooms while already on mushrooms.
You wouldn't have been able to guess it from the bright, punk opening at the start of last night's Sons of Hermann Hall bill, but, by show's end, a man wearing little but violet underwear and a cape would be leading the crowd in a chorus of "eat my ass."
And the dancehall setting at Sons was perfect for each.
Denton-based Bad Sports entered, played and left the stage like a thunderstorm. It was fast, bright and quick; sneeze and you might have missed a great punk-surf song.
San Francisco's The Fresh & Onlys took the stage shortly thereafter and was a touch more somber--so much so that the fever-dream rock they were putting out for the first half of the set kind of bored the crowd. But the band brought the audience back with a song called "500 Snakes"--and, go figure, some great tune about Tom & Jerry that was just plain fun.
And then came King Khan & the Shrines.
The Shrines were on stage first--sans Khan--dressed in gold plated shirts and dresses, like something in between Vegas's The Luxor and James Brown's attic wardrobe, and played a few bars. It was instant excitement. And then The King himself entered moments later to the regal sounds of soul-jazz saxophone, while (hell yes!) wearing crown made of feathers.
But the Shrines were hardly gimmicky--they could play. Smoking cool tracks like "Pickin' Up the Trash," "Destroyer," and "Welfare Bread" showcased the Shrines' instrumental talent and Khan's blistering howl. In tandem, they were effortlessly good--and that charisma tore down any separation between the audience and performers. (Especially when the musicians literally wandered out and into the crowd at points.)
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That was just the music half, though. The rest of the show saw frontman King Khan offering ridiculous, but hilarious, asides--like his request for audience members to "rub someone's butt...both cheeks." And it got even more absurd: After a raucous 45-minute performance, Khan & the Shrines closed its set with a sexual romp-narrative--something about leaving car keys in a vagina--set like a gospel-church song.
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And, maybe mushroom dust leaked in the air at this point, but Khan then returned for an encore wearing a cape, a battle helmet, and purple underwear. That's it.
Fittingly, he dedicated the last song, "Live Fast Die Strong," to Jay Reatard.
Personal Bias: Let me just say, without any journalistic language, that this show was just a huge fucking bucket of fun.
By The Way: Before a fellow Observer-ian pointed out his real identity, I swore I saw Hans Moleman at the show, waving a big American Flag. Turns out it was just a Sons of Hermann Hall regular named "Bob."