King Khan & The Shrines
More gigs should open with a cacophonous, brazen blast of fanfare for the frontman; it extinguishes the arsey chitchat back by the bar and is the perfect way of announcing, “Yeah, I’m a dickhead – and I’m gonna knock your socks off.” King Khan strides to the front of the stage, decked out in a white disco suit and extravagant feather headdress, strutting and lurching through a sweltering succession of freaked out soul funk tracks and garage filth. Overtly chauvinistic, ‘I Wanna Be A Girl’ he dedicates to all the rockabillies in the audience as a deranged surf beat comes crashing in over wah-wah guitar licks. This is countered by ‘Shivers Down My Spine’, a slice of retro-blues-noir, garnished with B-movie mwa-ha-ha’s and trembling organ wails. The brass section blazes through the charming ‘Took My Lady To Dinner’ – “My baby’s fat, she’s ugly but I love her” – then there’s that ‘psychedelic, neurotic gospel song’ about Khan crawling up inside his lady and sloshing back out again like a sack of wet watermelons. For his imperial encore the King returns in a gold cape, high-fiving his loyal subjects and initiating a ten-minute, deafening, relentless soul jam. This dickhead gives a good gig.
By Polly Rappaport
Originally published in issue 12 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. November 2009