Memory #2: Classic Concert Review: Shrines @ Paradise

Bands: The Homosexuals, Mark Sultan, King Khan
Venue: Paradise Rock Club

Act One
: The Homosexuals

Glen: The Homosexuals, or in this concert’s case Bruno Wizard and two members from the noise rock band Fiasco, started things off. Wizard, who has an affinity for saying ‘fuck’ and acting crazy as ‘fuck,’ didn’t fail at moving about the stage like an asshole. Wizard’s most notable song was “Hearts in Exile,” a lengthy and repetitive proto-punk jam that got the crowd semi-excited. He finally sang “Don’t Touch My Hair,” an obnoxious rhyme that was undoubtedly written while Wizard was under some form of narcotic. I give a lot of credit to Julian (drums) and Jon (guitar) for playing excellent music.

Chris: Well, the singer was a bit obnoxious and got really old rather quickly. Speaking of being old, he was middle aged, but tried to act like a buzz cock. Perhaps a bit more cock than buzz. His vocals and the songs themselves were average. He repeated one particular line at least 50 times. Ridonculous. With that being said, I appreciated his high energy, albeit a cliched, poor man’s Mick Jagger. Also, the guitarist and drummer had the musical chops and I suggest they find a new front man or create an entirely different group. [Editors Note: They are a part of Fiasco, which has a different lead singer. They were just filling in, bud.]

Act Two: Mark Sultan

Glen: Mark Sultan, or as the guy standing next to me said “the man they call B-B-Q” was very impressive. Complete with a makeshift drum kit and an old-school electric guitar, Sultan provided the audience with vintage rock n’ roll sounds. For me, Sultan’s highlight was “Waddlin’ Around.” The crowd really got into this song in particular. It was too bad Sultan only played for 30 minutes. That wasn’t the last of him though…

Chris: Mark Sultan or BBQ- Impressive. That’s the first word that comes to my mind when I think of his performance. For all ye musicians out there that merely play 1 instrument (I play none!), the BBQ has you beat! Simultaneously Sultan commands the microphone, plays the chords, and bangs the drums with the assistance of some handy dandy foot pedals. Sultan gave the audience a nice, little balance between slow, doo-wop echoing, love numbers and kick ass rockers you could rock your head and bop around to. A notable set to say the least.

Act Three: King Khan and the Shrines

Glen: I witnessed the soulful Supreme Genius! I actually noticed King Khan an hour before the show. I yelled “King!” and he stopped and gave Chris and I handshakes. Seriously, though, he puts on an amazing show. It couldn’t be done, though, without the help of the eight other members of the band. The cheerleader — unnecessary, yet unbelievably necessary — sprinkled glitter all over us in the pit. Her fine dancing was a great adjunct. The saxophone players don’t get as much credit as they deserve. They were instrumental (literally). The guitarists were fun, often interacting with the crowd (by jumping off stage). BUT it was the King who got everyone going. The minute he walked onto the stage, everyone just smiled, clapped, and knew that one hell of a show was in store. King’s swagger on stage is unprecedented. His gimmicks are vast and varied. Lying on the ground, sticking his head out to the front row, dancing over the cheerleader, whatever, you name it. His energy simply never relented. God bless him. He performed classics such as “I Wanna Be Your Girl,” “Welfare Bread,” and “Shivers Down My Spine,” before delving into a Gospel track — a brand-new 5+ minute epic that involved intensive crowd participation. King Khan came back on stage (thanks in large part to a certain energetic Shrines percussionist) after saying “this is our last song” and performed my personal favorite “Took My Lady To Dinner” followed by a few others, including a never-been-done-live-before song with Mark Sultan. Unfortunately, the experience had to come to an end. The keyboardist was doing crazy shit with his keyboard and having one hell of a time as he tackled it (which probably rendered it unusable). After slightly more than fifty minutes of moshing, sweating, and smacking King Khan’s helmet (yes, I got the privilege), the King, his underwear and animal teeth necklace, and his Shrines walked off the stage. The lights in the club turned on. We bounced.

Chris: I did not truly comprehend just how supreme the genius of King Khan and the Shrines was until Thursday night. Rarely have I ever seen such a build up to a band arriving on the stage. The Shrines, all in their black Shrine uniforms, began playing their various instruments, increasing the overwhelming anticipation of King Khan and his lady. Finally, our hero, accompanied by his ever-grinning cheerleader (pom poms and all!), hit the stage all decked out in his white suit and ready to go!. The crowd immediately danced into the “Land of the Freak,” which the Paradise Rock Club had transformed into by this point. The sensational opener was followed by even more notorious numbers including “How Do I Keep You (Outta Harm’s Way),” “Sweet Tooth,” “Shivers Down My Spine,” “Welfare Bread” (one of my favorite moments during the concert; the cheerleader sprinkled glitter all over herself and us!), “I Wanna Be A Girl” (I’d say the tune earned the biggest crowd response, at least from me anyway), “No Regrets,” “Took My Lady to Dinner,” and “Live Fast Die Strong.” The last 3 were performed as the encore in which the King appeared in his traditional golden cape, mask, and nothing but underwear!

Final Comments:

Glen: King Khan and the Shrines probably put on the best show that I’ve seen yet. It wasn’t quite a religious experience, but it was a genius experience. I’ve never gotten the privilege to see eight amazing musicians (plus one cheerleader) perform so amazingly together. I didn’t really listen to King Khan too much before the show, but now I’m absolutely hooked. But seriously this show has to be in its own category because of that. With the Black Lips and No Age, I pretty much recognized all their live music and that made seeing them so great. Bottom line: I absolutely can’t wait to see King Khan and the Shrines again!

Chris: Grade: A. Stage diving, crowd surfing, pogoing, and heartfelt singing insured one of my top 3 greatest concert experiences.

Damn, the anticipation…..