Photos and Review by Jon Ching
Putting on a spectacle is a feat that King Khan and the Shrines have refined and perfected into a high energy, crowd-moving show. Multimember walks through the audience, a pole-dancing saxophonist, and countless kicks, spins and lunges were some of the treats the loose, yet enthusiastic, crowd was treated to last night at Slim’s.
King Khan and the Shrines immediately cranked it up and got the crowd moving, opening with a familiar, friendly track. Barely into their third song, a kid quickly climbed on stage and dove onto the crowd, surfing a good amount considering the less than sold out attendance. In fact, there were multiple crowd surfers, blissfully suspended as King Khan let out that soulful scream that he just could not seem to hold back any longer.
The band was made up of several tribes, each with their own native dress and traditional dance. There were the drums, wearing all black, flailing their arms and pounding that beat. There were the horns, with their dazzling capes, bone-studded necklaces and choreographed dance moves. And there were the strings, with their shiny beaded shirts and skillful back-to-back mic sharing. Although separated by their tribes, all the band members were united in their sheer expression of energy.
Pianist Fredovitch displayed his animalistic energy through huge, primitive leaps while hoisting his instrument above his head, as if it were his prize kill. Saxaphonist Ben Ra ditched his instrument all together, climbing onto a speaker and singing to the crowd with a tambourine while essentially dry humping a venue-supporting pole. At one point, he was found spanking himself with the jangly percussion instrument. All members gave full attention to the crowd and commanded its participation. It’s showmanship and antics like this that make me feel lazy in the crowd when all I’m doing is dancing my butt off.
King Khan and the Shrines started and ended their set with high energy, charisma and the sweetest capes you could ask for. Upon exiting the stage, the last member of the band enjoyed extended applause as he waved to the crowd. He kept this going and actually built the crowd’s nonstop applause into an encore, no doubt one the most humble ways I’ve seen a band earn a second round.
When he got back on stage, King Khan had ditched his slick, silver suit and traded it in for a thick afro wig with a sequined headband, black spandex booty shorts with the crotch adorned with sparkly jewels, and a brilliant black cape, lined with gold and embroidered with gems on the back, as if he had poured the night’s sky all over it. Seeing him in this state brought closure to my experience and settled that uncomfortable feeling in my gut that maybe I wouldn’t get to see Khan’s bare belly in all its glory after all. I’m still hearing that godly scream of his and I hope it doesn’t soon go away.