Bands: King Khan & The Shrines, Hector’s Pets
Venue: Brighton Music Hall (Brighton, MA)
Date: Monday, July 23, 2012
Act One:Hector’s Pets – Hector’s Pets is an exciting five piece rock and roll band. Excitement comes in many forms, but with Hector’s Pets, my major source comes from the oddity of the group. They are an interesting visual: a front-man singing and clapping with a tambourine, a surfer-type dude on vocals and guitar, a Ty Segall look-a-like on bass, a ’70s glam rocker on lead guitar, and a cool as an autumn breeze drummer with sunglasses. Those are rough descriptions; I am not trying to aesthetically diss the guys. Musically, I recognize one song towards the end of their set. I am surprised that I recall it, because I only saw a few clips of the band weeks before the show. The song is “Station Wagon“. It’s good. The rest of the songs — I couldn’t quite get into them as much as I wanted to. I’m not incredibly hard to please so this was surprising, but they seemed in a bit of a rock and roll middle ground; heavier than stand-still groups like Real Estate, but considerably slower than an all-out blitz a la Jay Reatard. On an optimistic front, maybe they will become a 2012 Brighton Music Hall version of 2009’s Box Elders at the old Harpers Ferry. By that I mean to say I found myself more curious about the band’s on-stage persona than the music itself. I came around to the Elders and I was hooked by the time I saw them for a second time opening for Black Lips at Middle East Downstairs in March 2010. I keenly anticipate listening to more of Hector’s Pets.
The Final Act: King Khan and the Shrines – It sure is humorous to recall the mysticism surrounding the first time I saw King Khan and the Shrines. Reading about Jared Swilley’s premier experience was a bit like cracking open Fear and Loathing — there’s a bunch of vivid imagery about wild times, but it’s hard to make sense of them until they’ve happened to you. Needless to say, Khan and crew clicked on all levels that very May night at the Paradise Rock Club – their biggest Boston gig by far at that time. The sound was superb, the crowd went extra crazy, and the Shrines still had Bamboorella as their lead dancer. Fast forward a little more than a year to October 2010. The Shrines are back in Boston, this time at the Royale. The event is undersold, but features a fantastic opening line-up of Red Mass and Gentleman Jesse and His Men. The show is a great one, but it’s a toned down event, in sound and in performance. Now, it’s July 2012 at the Brighton Music Hall. Upon announcement, the choice of venue is surprising given the past two much larger locales, but with a lot of college kids gone for summer, it makes more sense for the Shrines to play Brighton. As the days draw closer to the event, I smirk as I do before all shows involving my favorite bands. An incredible time is ahead! And it was quite the show! No Bamboorella, one less man on horns, one less man on guitar. These are just some minor things I noticed. The sound wasn’t quite as solid as it was during the previous two shows. Opener “(How Can I Keep You)” felt less ‘complete’ this time around for sure. But what suffered in sound was made up for in practically every facet of the performance. You could tell King Khan was especially grateful for the audience’s reaction of singing along, dancing crazy, jumping up and down, etc. He did his part as well, especially in the encore as he wrapped the front-row in his cape and high-fived several people. Others in the band leaped into the crowd at various junctures, sometimes playing their instruments, sometimes just soaking in the fun. I remember thinking to myself, “wow, they keep playing hit after hit,” at one point and then thinking the same thing a couple of songs later. Great. A good chunk of the band’s live material was taken from Supreme Genius and What Is?!, but there was a nice bit of new and old — the old being “Stoned Soup” (for example) and the new being “So Wild” (a tribute to Jay Reatard) and “Bite My Tongue,” both of which will be released on an upcoming LP. The classics for me (and for others..judging by reaction) were “Took My Lady To Dinner,” “Welfare Bread,” and “I Wanna Be A Girl”. It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces having loads of fun. A moment of weirdness came after the band finished playing. An older gentleman with a saxophone in his hand climbed on stage and started playing solo. Most people were confused, but we seemed to embrace this peculiar occurrence. His performance lasted five or so minutes longer than I would have liked if I had a choice, but I did not. He kept playing. Eventually and fortunately, the Shrines made their way back on stage (thanks to percussionist Ron Streeter, who is a master of bringing the band out of the green room) and ripped into a few more tunes. There was hope for a second encore after several moments of silence and darkness and pleas from Streeter, but the PA music came back on and the show was officially over. The Shrines will be back soon. I was assured of this after the show by Shrines trumpet player Simon Says. Just when… we’ll see!
All Photos courtesy of KLYAM’s soul brother Glenn Delrossi. Thanks buddy!