Review: King Khan & The Shrines, Hellshovel, The Monsieurs @ Brighton Music Hall (10/29/13)

Shrines Brighton
Bands: King Khan & The Shrines, Hellshovel, The Monsieurs
Date: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Venue: Brighton Music Hall (Allston, MA)

The Monsieurs
The Monsieurs – Here at KLYAM we are suffocated by “garage rock” and “garage punk” and don’t even get me started on “garage psych.” At this point, we could drown in our vomit’s worth of garage. You may ask, “do you ever get sick of listening to this same style of music with bands ripping off bands that ripped off bands that ripped off bands that ripped off some poor black guys? The answer is yes and no. Yes, hearing garage all the time can be tedious and can surely make it difficult to warm up to fresh, young blood. But, no we are far too young to be cynical to say that “it all sounds the same” and sometimes it just takes a special band to make everything all right. The Monsieurs are one of those bands and they are ever so special. As one Cory Bell (SKIMASK, Funeral Cone, Ancient Filth) predicted, KLYAM seriously digs The Monsieurs!

The Monsieurs are a Boston based three piece – Andy Macbain on vocals, Hilken Mancini on guitar, and Erin King on drums (King stands up and smashes at her bass less kit a la Melanie and Peaches from Fagettes). Andy’s a real bad ace, we’re talking one kewl cat, I mean woahhhh daddy damn. He looks like a pimp (and could be) straight out of a blaxploitation flick (though he is white) – black shades, fur coat, funky hair, chewing gum, and pacing around the room like a caged cheetah  that’s finally been let out and ready to rock like it’s no one else’s business.

Andy claws around, singing/screaming in everyone’s face and carrying a mic stand with him the whole time. Since I’m standing in front of the stage, he nearly knocks me out with the damn thing on several occasions. Andy spends much of this set on the floor, rocking around the somewhat empty crowd (at this point in the show, the audience is still building up and various patrons are just arriving, grabbing a drink at the bar, etc.). Glen thinks the band would fair better in a smaller, up close, and personal setting. I concur. Though, I got plenty up close and personal with The Monsieurs. Andy even kneels down and whispers sweet nothings in my ear at one point during the show.

As far as that good old fashioned, 60s garage/bubblegum pop styled rock ‘n’ roll goes, The Monsieurs are some of the best dishing it out around town. In particular, “Kari Ann” stands out to me tonight. It’s quite the ditty. Listen to all the ditties here on their album Rock the Night. Trust me, this one’s a keeper.

Hellshovel – Hellshovel is currently on tour with King Khan & The Shrines, although I have never heard their music before. Though, I have heard that Hellshovel is one of King Khan’s new favorite bands. Makes sense, given that Hellshovel is led by Demon’s Claws’ front man Jeff Clarke – a long time friend and collaborator of King Khan’s. A fellow Kukomonga,  a death culter.

Hellshovel has a similar garage aesthetic as the other two bands on the bill, but they are a lot more laid back and mellow. It’s actually bizarre psych garage music. Spacey. It’s cool, but doesn’t burn a fire in my heart like The  Monsieurs did. Still, I recommend you check out their stuff here:
Shrines BMH 2
King Khan & The Shrines – Ahh the build up before King Khan is like no other. All the Shrines are out on stage, decked out in all black, wailin’ away as the crowd cheers loud and louder until the King finally arrives. Dressed in black and gold, the King summons his sensational shrines and the band bursts into perennial show opener “Land of the Freak” OWWWWWWW!!!.

This is our fourth time seeing King Khan & The Shrines, so we know what to expect, but the show still remains magnificent. And in terms of the set, it’s precisely what you want from the grandaddy of them all. A sweet mixture of all the vintage Shrines tunes spiced up with some fresh cuts from the band latest effort Idle No More (Merge).

I’m as ecstatic as ever to hear my favorite King Khan & The Shrines songs, but I really dig the way King introduces each hit with a tiny hint as to what the band will play next. “This next one is for all you big girls” (“Took My Lady to Dinner”), “This one is for all you poor people,” (“Welfare Bread”), and best of all a new ballad for those rabid animals we lay to rest, especially Jay Reatard and Lou  Reed (“So Wild”). You forgot Marcia Wallace (Edna Krabappel) King! So wild. RIP to all.

I may simply be forgetting – it’s been so many shows now – but, this may be the first time I’ve ever heard the band play the slow, doo woppy love song “Fool Like Me,” one of my favorites and a real pleasure to finally hear live.

Per usual, King Khan & The Shrines puts on one of the best shows you will ever experience, but the crowd could be a lot better. Sure, people are dancing, but there is not enough movement, not enough hysteria. This is King Khan people! On the other hand, when King Khan returns for the encore – in cape –  the disciples start moshing and bashing back and forth to the sounds of  “Born to Die” (a newbie from Idle No More). Next is “No Regrets,” and finally we leave with the classic “Live Fast Die Strong.” LIVE FAST DIE.

Following the show, we share some kind words with the almighty defender himself. He remembered Gangbang Gordon! You may not however, you may have never even heard of him, but you will some day. When you least expect it.

Video by John Doherty

Review: King Khan & The Shrines – “Idle No More” [2013]

Band: King Khan & The Shrines
Label: Merge Records
Date: September 2013

1. Born to Die
2. Bite My Tongue
3. Thorn in Her Pride
4. Luckiest Man
5. Better Luck Next Time
6. Darkness
7. Pray for Lil
8. Bad Boy
9. So Wild
10. Yes I Can’t
11. I Got Made
12. Of Madness I Dream

Comments: I just saw a thing, announcing this as a comeback album for the sensational, one of my favorite bands for some time now, King Khan and the Shrines. That’s kind of true, I thought. Their last release – The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines – was my personal introduction to the band. It came out in 2008. But in the time between (5 years), I’ve had the great chance of seeing the Shrines three times, in ’09, ’10, and ’12. So they’ve always been around, putting on some of the finest shows a band can. The presence of King Khan as soon as he hits the stage is always met with crazy levels of reception. It is usually after the 8 member Shrines warm us up with their horny glory when Khan joins in on the madness. While Idle No More might be considered as taking it down a few notches, it is a still a bastion of psychedelic soul, R&B, and fuzzy rock ‘n roll that I haven’t found to be matched in the modern era. The older Shrines releases have some more grease to them, maybe a touch more slime, and easy flowing blunt force, but this is something of an instrumental masterpiece.

Maybe as I’ve gotten myself familiar with King Khan’s music over the years, I’ve begun to appreciate the finer aspects songwriting and recorded performance present in such an outwardly fun style of music. But yeah, what I’m trying to say, is that Idle No More has more layers and dynamics to it than the average r’n’r album, that it’s hard not to appreciate just the fact that something like this was pulled off with great success. There’s definitely some unexpected moments – like on songs like “Pray For Lil” and “Bad Boy” that feature vocals from Jena Roker who sang on “Unicorn Rainbow Odyssey” on Mark Sultan’s Sultanic Verses. That last bit of info I had to look up, but I remember a female singer from that song that was really a cool way to end an album. But yeah these songs are ultra-soul, but keenly poppy while maintaining the innate rawness of the Shrines. This is stuff that’ll most likely win over your friends that are afraid of getting into real good music. The first four songs on the album – “Thorn in Her Pride” and “Luckiest Man” are tops for me at this point – these are the ones that’ll get the people moving the most at the shows. They all sound faintly similar as far as being driven to climax by outrageously crisp horns and choruses that will struggle to leave your memory. “So Wild” is a tribute to Khan’s dear friend/one of this site’s most advocated artists Jay Reatard. The production of it recalls Jay behind the mixing boards – it sounds sorta somber at the start, but truly explodes during the chorus.

Some bands might get a little flak for songs sounding like each other, but the Shrines manipulate the formula often enough that distinct styles often shine through like the garage jangle on “Yes I Can’t” (a standout on the album for sure, a powerhouse of a song) and hand-clap galore, early Shrines throwback “I Got Made”. People who really dug The Supreme Genius oughta definitely appreciate that one, particularly. The one tune that makes it mark as a departure from the upbeat pulse of the record is the minimal “Darkness,” which is haunting and stands as a mini-closer. The real finishing touch is “Of Madness I Dream”. It sways slowly, builds progressively, and reaches a fuzzy tipping point, collapsing solos reign before Khan’s vocals re-enter to deliver the final lines.

Idle No More doesn’t quite have the sultry passion that dominates the Shrines earlier work, but for seemingly deeper songs, these still rock ‘n roll… time and time again. The stuff is held together well, a little grit has been traded in for sonic soundness and more often than not, this works great. One of the more interesting bands of our time with a just as interesting front man, King Khan and the Shrines have once again delivered to us modern rock and soul as rousing as it comes.


Music Video: King Khan & The Shrines – “Darkness”

Watch the latest stop-motion music video from King Khan & The Shrines for their song “Darkness” off the forthcoming LP Idle No More (Merge) out on September 3. Read more about the “Darkness” music video in this New York Times article here:

P.S. Bostonians, catch the band live at Brighton Music Hall on October 29!

Song of the Day: The Spaceshits – “Everytime We Get Married” (1998)

I feel like we haven’t done a Song of the Day in ages, so why not bring it back? I just heard this Spacehsits song for the first time, I can’t believe it. It’s a great song and a lot slower and softer than the speedy, sweaty, balls out approach typically associated with the Spaceshits’ music. Anyway, check it out, it’s a doozy from a legendary band.

King Khan & The Shrines – “Born to Die”/ Tour Dates/Boston – 10/29!

Damn, it seems like every day we’re discovering something new about our honorary KLYAMER King Khan and his Sensational Shrines. Well, today the gospel is this: “Born to Die” is here for your listening pleasure and it is the opening track off of King Khan & The Shrines’ forthcoming album Idle No More (out 9/3 on Merge).

Hearing the scandalous, sweaty, but infinitely wise words of the Shrines is not enough. Oh no, you must witness the supreme genius in the flesh…

King Khan & The Shrines Tour Dates:
08/28 – Luxembourg @ Exit07
08/29 – NL Haarlem Dutch Garage Rock Explosion @ Patronaat
08/30 – UK Salisbury @ End Of The Road Festival
09/01 – UK London @ XOYO
09/04 – FR Paris @ Trabendo
09/05 – BLG Brussels @ Magasin 4
09/06 – NL Vlieland @ Great Wide Open Festival

10/11 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
10/13 – San Francisco, CA @ Slims
10/14 – Portland, OR @ Dantes
10/15 – Vancouver, BC @ The Rickshaw Theatre
10/16 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
10/17 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
10/18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
10/19 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
10/20 – Kansas City, KS @ The Record Bar
10/21 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
10/22 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
10/23 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
10/24 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop
10/25 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
10/26 – Toronto, ON @ Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
10/27 – Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe
10/29 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
10/30 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
10/31 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
11/01 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
11/02 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall
11/04 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
11/05 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
11/06 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
11/09 – Puerto Rico @ Hacienda Siesta Alegre
11/12 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls

King Khan & The Shrines – “Idle No More” Out 9/3/13

King Khan & The Shrines, the holiest of holies, is releasing a new album on their recently signed Merge Records, entitled Idle No More and it’s coming out on September 3!

“King Khan offered this statement on the release:
It has been a lengthy hiatus, but we have finally finished our latest ‘masterpiece’ and named it after an incredible indigenous-rights movement that is happening right now called Idle No More.
I was born and raised in Montreal and spent a lot of time on the Kahnawake Mohawk Indian reservation. Much of my juvenile delinquent training came from years of tripping out there with my best friends. I began the Shrines in 1999 with the blessings from my brothers in The Spaceshits, right after we disbanded. The dream was to make something reminiscent of Sun Ra, James Brown, and Otis Redding with a hint of The Velvet Underground, Love, The Monks and about a million other influences that riddled my LSD-soaked brain at the tender age of 22.
The Shrines was my pirate ship and we sailed many a turbulent sea, spreading our music ‘like peanut butter’ all over the world. We celebrated our cult ‘underground’ status and became the kings we are through word of mouth and by making an ‘aural eyegasm’ that has often been called the ‘wildest show on earth.’
Idle No More is probably the most refined piece of music we have made to date. The songs are about the state of the world we live in today. It took a long time to make, but we are very proud and pleased to bring you this album. I hope that the future will brighten up every time it is played. Ultimately, John and Yoko were absolutely right: LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED!
Peace and Love,
King-Bama Lama Khan
Emperor of RnB” – Merge Records

Idle No More track list:
1. Born to Die
2. Bite My Tongue
3. Thorn in Her Pride
4. Luckiest Man
5. Better Luck Next Time
6. Darkness
7. Pray for Lil
8. Bad Boy
9. So Wild
10. Yes I Can’t
11. I Got Made
12. Of Madness I Dream

King Khan and the Shrines Sign To Merge Records

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Our favorite rock ‘n soul band King Khan & The Shrines will be releasing a new record later this year. As you can tell from the title, they have signed to Merge Records.

As King says: “It is a pleasure working with folks who eat ribs while they cure buffalo meat and sell rekkids.”

Details on the record and upcoming tour dates are to follow… shortly.

Review: The King Khan & BBQ Show, Bloodshot Bill, Aykroyd @ The Sinclair (4/10/13)

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Bands: The King Khan & BBQ Show, Bloodshot Bill, Aykroyd
Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Venue: The Sinclair (Cambridge, MA)

First time at the Sinclair, place gives me the willies! What is this monstrosity before me? I almost feel like I’m at some quasi House of Blues. For a few moments, I forget where I am, I think I am in some other city, some foreign land. Then I see King Khan and Mark Sultan/BBQ at the merch table and all is well. I am in the right place, it’s April 10, 2013 and The King Khan & BBQ Show are back in Boston! Last time, we  saw these two on stage was way back in October 2009 at the Middle East Downstairs. Great times! One of the finest shows we have ever witnessed. Since then, we’ve seen King and Mark separately several times as King Khan & The Shrines and Mark Sultan solo, respectively and those were all kick ass shows, but KKBBQ is superior. After saying some hellos, we make our way to the stage.

Aykroyd plays first and you may remember them as The Needy Visions, y’all know. The one from that Maine Coons song, “Fast and Easy Livin.” Maine Coons, you know, one of the greatest bands of all time. Quick, here’s their bandcamp page: We’ll just act like this never happened. But, enough of those dogs, I mean cats, I mean that dude, ehhhh, Aykroyd/Needy Visions is the topic of discussion and they totally rule, looking like mighty beings on top of this massive stage in front of me. I look up and see lead vocalist/guitarist Dan Shea making bizarre faces and awkward, uncomfortable, high pitched shrieks that are oddly appealing. The whole band sounds top notch, like a blend of 90’s “college rock,” right cause everyone who plays music goes to college – err like Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, and other bands of that era that didn’t hail from our great state of Massachusetts mixed with classic rock.  It’s ginormous  Sam Potrykus flails about and passionately rocks out on bass, whilst he boogies around in his funky, unusual dance style. With all of this eccentric behavior in mind, it brings me back to nearly three years ago when I first saw The Needy Visions opening for No Age. That was a sick performance, but I enjoy this one even more.

Sam and Dan are the masterminds behind Bodies of Water Shows, Boston Hassle, and the Boston Counter Cultural Compass. They represent the Boston underground better than anyone else and best of all they have a killer taste in music. Dan name drops the Compass, which is available at the merch table and the band expresses their gratitude for being on this bill tonight. Dan says, “We love King Khan & BBQ, A LOT.” So, do we, Dan!  You guys rule and promote so much great music around here that I probably would have never heard of otherwise. In fact, any Boston garage/punk slime KKBBQ fans reading this, if you haven’t heard of Boston Hassle or B.O.W.  check it out. I’ll bet you a PBR that you will dig at least one if not numerous fun loving rebel rousers making plenty of punk slime noise in your very own backyard. Here’s some links:

And then there was Bloodshot Bill… Bloodshot Bill has appeared on my list of people to see live for at least two years now. Much like King Khan and Sultan, who he has collaborated with in Tandoori Knights and The Ding Dongs, respectively, Bill is no bullshit, real, old school, greasy rock ‘n’ roll. No trendy, mindless fluff; it’s not a haircut band to paraphrase one, Ian St. Pe. Though he does slick his hair with his own brand of grease known as “Nice ‘n’ Greasy!”  But, greasy hair aside, also like his Canadian comrades, he is an incendiary performer, and tonight is a blistering, steamy show.
Bloodshot Bill has the Mark Sultan set up: stomping the drums with his feet, clutching his guitar real, real close, and melting everyone’s brains with an incredible voice. It’s an obvious comparison, considering both men are collaborators, they play solo, and they play this raw, original style of rock ‘n’ roll. The original rock ‘n’ roll as it was meant to sound. But, the comparison should end there, because they are actually quite different. Bill channels Chuck Berry, Elvis, country, and rockabilly with a nasty, fiery punk edge. Dude sweats and spits unlike any other performer. He spits more than that lady in Heavy Cream!

What I love about Bloodshot Bill is his interaction with the audience. He can hold a crowd real tight and when he wants to let them loose, he can. When he tells them to shout “YEAHHHH!” They do it on command. It’s hard not to obey Bill, with his enigmatic, unique sounding voice. His range is unbelievable and he switches back and forth from high to low, low low. Sounds like an animal at times. How is a human making these noises? It’s not just Bill’s voice, however, that entices me. The musician sounds like a full band all by himself and he puts his entire body and soul into his performance. He shakes his hair violently and taps on his guitar, banging on the strings. You can tell he’s having fun, everyone’s having fun, that’s the idea. One woman even throws her black bra up on stage haha. Definitely one of the more distinct and skilled performers I have seen to date. Catch Bloodshot Bill live or on record. Check him out here:

The King Khan & BBQ Show is one of the original KLYAM beloved bands. King Khan and Mark Sultan/BBQ are legends, responsible for much of the music I have come to love over the years. As usual, the duo come out on stage, dressed up in some wacky, colorful attire. King Khan stands towards the front of the stage, on guitar and vocals, while Mark sings, plays guitar, and plays drums with his feet. Together, the two rip through three albums worth of rock ‘n’ roll classics, getting everyone in the Sinclair to dance and mosh in the process. KKBBQ represent the fun spirit of rock ‘n’ roll as a whole. Their mixture of punk and doo wop is unmatched. Some bands may be able to master these styles and combine them in an effective way, but this duo’s music ranks up there with the best of the best themselves. Sultan’s crooning is comparable to that of Sam Cooke, while King Khan’s deep, doo woppy voice harkens back to 50s groups like The Five Satins.

In between songs, there is constantly inner band banter in which the pair crack jokes, amusing themselves even more than the crowd itself. You can tell these two are good friends and there’s a sarcasm to them that is pure entertainment. The set tonight is not too different from the one we experienced three and half years ago, which isn’t a bad thing, because the band plays most of the songs a die hard KKBBQ fan would want to hear. Some of my favorites include fast, punk driven bohemoths, “Fish Fight” and “Zombies,” sing a long, doo wop anthems, “Waddlin’ Around” and “Invisible Girl,” or soft, gentle, love songs such as “Into the Snow,” which display Sultan’s vast, intimidating vocals. Then there’s the straight up funny songs like “Tastebuds.” I love screaming out the filthy  nonsensical lyrics to this song (“Tastebuds on your cunt/So you can lick my booty from the front”), but I get an even better kick out of hearing most of the kids around me completely fucking up the words. They also play one of my favorite songs from Invisible Girl, “Truth Or Dare,” a great, heavy punk number with some of King Khan’s best vocals tonight. I don’t recall this one from the previous Boston show, so it’s a pleasure to finally hear it live.

The moshing is fun, definitely a sweaty, beer flying frenzy, but not nearly as chaotic as I expected. I never lose my sense of place or whatever. Per usual, King and Mark are exciting, lively performers, but I feel like King is more animated when he is performing with The Shrines. Mark, on the other hand, seems to be more fervent in this setting than when he plays solo. That’s just my reaction anyway. I’ve seen Mark Sultan only a few times and he’s just as passionate, but I feel like he is more entertaining when he interacts and plays beside King Khan. In some ways, they bring out the best in each other. At the end of the day, these two are legends and they bear their souls for rock ‘n’ roll. This show is a lot of fun, but not nearly as marvelous as that initial KKBBQ performance I experienced several years ago. Still, I’m always grateful to see one of my favorite bands live and I look forward to the next show.

Set List (in no particular order):
“Fish Fight”
“Too Much In Love”
“Waddlin’ Around”
“I’ll Be Loving You”
“Into the Snow”
“Pig Pig”
“Hold Me Tight:
“Treat Me Like A Dog”
“Dock It #8”
“Invisible Girl”
“Truth Or Dare”
“Shake Real Low”
“Why Don’t You Lie”
There may have been more…

KEWL CATS: This is the latest segment in KLYAM live reviews. A shout out to the new and old pals we encounter at shows. It was terrific seeing Eric and Kelly from the Atlantic Thrills, Ryan from Fagettes, Justin from Earthquake Party!, Dan from Aykroyd/Needy Visions, and of course Kiyal, the KLYAM guardian angel. Y’all rule.

This was the first song I ever heard by The King Khan & BBQ Show!