Concert Reviews

King Khan & the Shrines sent the Bluebird into a frenzy

King Khan & the Shrines • Fresh & Onlys • Eyes & Ears
04.08.2010 | Bluebird Theater

When King Khan and Shrines played the Larimer Lounge about a year and a half ago, it was a tough show to shake. All those cats were sweaty and crammed on that stage, the cheerleader gal never stopped moving and Khan was going fucking nuts, wearing that beady head piece thing that looking like it was stolen from Sun Ra's closet: The cape, the Spandex shorts and the Darth Vader-esque helmet. The whole visual thing, the horns blasting, the deep grooves... man, that show fucked me up something good.

I wanted that experience again, and I'd been jonesing for that pretty much since then. So needless to say, it was tough sitting through the San Francisco based-Fresh & Onlys set Thursday night. Sure, they were a decent band and played some solid tunes, and hell, the guitar player, Wymond Miles, is from Denver. Turns out he's also the same dude who sort of revived a dead rat a few days into their tour.

But it was tough to paying attention to band since the anticipation of seeing the Shrines was killing me, as was watching the sound guy, who I'm guessing was on tour with the Shrines and Fresh & Onlys, constantly making little tweaks on the soundboard and on effects units.

Once the Shrines finally took the stage, it was like the needle went in, and the warmness started to spread around my body during the dirty garage soul of "(How Can I Keep You) Outta Harms Way," "Pickin' Up Trash" and "Took My Lady to Dinner." But it probably was "Burnin' Inside" that completely knocked me (and probably most of the folks at the Bluebird) out.

There was some high voltage shit from then on out, like on "I Wanna Be a Girl," in which the horn players and the cheerleader chick were scurrying around banging on these sticks with tiny cymbals in them.

The energy kept surging through the super funk of "Destroyer" before Kahn slowed it down with a hilarious erotic gospel tune about, well, spreading a gal's legs, putting his hands inside, putting his face inside, his head inside, then his arms and legs inside... you get the idea.

Interesting note: While most of the Shrines were letting it loose -- some jumping into the crowd or running around the stage -- the drummer's expression hardly changed the whole show, and aside from his arms and legs moving, the rest of his body stayed in one place. He was like this stoic anchor sitting at his drum kit, almost oblivious of the whirlwind of crazy that was going on around him.

Near the end of the juiced up set, the band ran through "Welfare Bread." For the encore, Khan came out wearing his cape and spandex shorts, and the band dipped into the fast funk of "Stone Soup" before going into "Live Fast Die Young," which Khan dedicated to his friend, the late Jay Reatard.

The Shrines rode out the night with a free jazz freak-out with the sax players screeching and overblowing notes. It was all slightly chaotic, but a damn fine way to close out the night.

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK: Personal Bias: While the Bluebird show was intense and a bit insane, the Larimer Lounge show a year and a half ago was slightly more insane. By The Way: Most of the band members were eating dinner at Tommy's Thai before the show. Random Detail: "What is that? Mushrooms?" Khan joked after someone threw something on stage.

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Jon Solomon writes about music and nightlife for Westword, where he's been the Clubs Editor since 2006.
Contact: Jon Solomon