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Monday, September 3, 2012

King Khan But Mostly the Shrines

Posted by on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM

When you're King Khan, and you've been fronting explosively energetic garage revival bands since the mid-90s, maybe you get tired sometimes. I'm not sure what I was expecting exactly from all the middle-finger-flipping hype of a King Khan show, but Khan looked flat-out bored as he howled and cackled "666" into his mic on KEXP's "TuneIn Stage" Saturday afternoon.

666.......666666....I could be mowing my lawn right now
  • Stranger
  • 666..........666.... zZZzZzzZZzzzZzzzZZz

Mr. Khan strolls onstage as if he were taking a walk in the park after his band of stellar musicians, the Shrines, spews out a disgustingly psychedelic funk-soul intro. Clad in a bedazzled headdress three times the size of his head, he politely asks the crowd (comprised of mostly teens in face paint, burly alt-bros (?), and Bellevue soccer moms in chiffon floral dresses) to "please shake your ass", and it's a shockingly demure request from the man who may be most famous for immortalizing his bare ass next to Lindsey Lohan's face in a photograph. Still, an older couple in front of me recognize this isn't their "scene" and evacuate while two burly alt-bros (?) on either side of me thrash into me as they grind into their lady companions.

Now, about the headdress. Let's get something straight: Born Arish Ahmad Khan to an Indo-Canadian family in Montreal, King Khan is NOT a Native American. I repeat: King Khan was born in the Americas but is not ethnically tied to its indigenous population, so what's with the headdress? Sure, feathers are pretty— flashy, even, that's why birds use 'em to attract mates— but you gotta be respectful of other people's cultures, ya dig? There's something called "native appropriation" and it involves not misusing a traditional garment by pairing it with a sparkly gold v-neck from American Apparel, studded cuffs, and "bone" necklace as part of your stage act (or every day act).

Throughout the set, which contained a sort of Shakespearean ode called "Took My Lady To Dinner" with the chorus "She's fat and she's ugly/ but I love her" and many an oversexed-without-being-sexy number, I also found myself getting politically defensive: why is he implying that larger women need his validation or his dinners? "Fat" is not synonymous with "ugly" (two incredibly subjective words, by the way!) and by this point I'm not sure whether I'm more annoyed by his Feminist-fuming sentiments or his "costume."

King Khan: 0
The Shrines: .5
(they are still wearing the "bone" necklaces but likely had no choice)

  • stranger

The Shrines are the single redeeming aspect of the show, a high-energy tractor beam of spaced-out psychedelic glory to totally eclipse Sir Khan. On the second-to-last song, Khan half-assedly insists "let me take you on a trip", but the Shrines— three horn players, a guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, aux percussionist, and a drummer— were the only ones capable of that on this afternoon. My only complaint is maybe less trumpet from Danny Masterson aka Steven Hyde from That 70's Show (okay not really but check out that stache!) and more Bari sax, because GIMME MORE BARI SAX ALL THE TIME. King Khan's magic-bus entourage is even complete with long-haired Bohemian girls playing tambourines on the sidestage. And by the end of the set, the keyboardist is jumping around the stage like a teen at his first rave, even taking a sec to breakdance centerstage. He solidifies his wigged-out presence by being the lone crowd-surfer, and promptly kicks me in the face since I'm hell of oblivious and have one hand dedicated to furious note-taking.

King Khan: 0
The Shrines: 9

I only caught one other set for the day, and that was from thee ladies of THEEsatisfaction. Their seductive psych hip hop out-souled and out-funked the hell out of King Khan. The day's conclusion: THEESatisfaction are bringing more soul to Seattle than King Khan or his stupid headdress have brought to anyone recently (even his German supermodel wife).

Final scores:

King Khan: 0
The Shrines: 9.5
THEESatisfaction: 10


Comments (21) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
wow. way to have the kid barely old enough to drink write up the Shrines.

Posted by ug. man oh man oh man. poor kid. on September 3, 2012 at 1:23 PM · Report this
Good job kid. You tried.
Posted by LOLOCAUST on September 3, 2012 at 2:38 PM · Report this
ragold 3
You sound like a riot.
Posted by ragold on September 3, 2012 at 2:51 PM · Report this
care bear 4
That headdress reads a lot more African or Asian than Native American to me.
Posted by care bear on September 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
really, that is a typically native american headdress? feathers are only allowed to be used by native americans? i'm surprised kelly o has not cut you because of the kk comments!
Posted by beef on September 3, 2012 at 7:58 PM · Report this
seandr 6
Oh for Christ's sake. Cultures have been exchanging ideas, language, music, technology, clothing, and goddamn fucking hats since humans have been humans.

If some East Indian rock star wants to wear a Native American headdress, or a pair of Mormon magic underpants, or both at the same time for that matter, more power too him, and fuck your pretentious, politically correct, moral sophistry.

P.S. That's not even a Native American headdress. Neither is this one. Contrary to your ignorant, racist assumptions, not all hats with feathers are Native American.
Posted by seandr on September 3, 2012 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Are you sure there were women there that you sized up as Bellevue Soccer Moms??? One maybe, but people from the eastside from my experience generally aren't all that hip to the likes of KK and prefer safe cover music bands or bands from the 70's e.g., Yes at Snoqaulmie Casino.

I'm betting the women in the floral dresses were probably north seattle middle aged hipsters dressing comfortable and looking ironic
Posted by neo-realist on September 4, 2012 at 9:35 AM · Report this
hi kelly o - from the "older couple" ... we also migrated to THEESatisfaction, apparently much sooner than you (ya poor kid). it ain't an all-ages show til we show up!!
Posted by jackieoh1 on September 4, 2012 at 10:09 AM · Report this
More, I Say! 9
@4 I had the same thought. SIGH.
Posted by More, I Say! on September 4, 2012 at 10:19 AM · Report this
This is a horrible mean-spirited post. You know nothing about Khan's "German supermodel wife" (?????) And what does even mentioning a wife, in attack-mode, have to do with the performance at Bumbershoot?

I don't understand. This is ugly and venomous.

Way off base about the feather hat too. Just wow.

Posted by Kelly O on September 4, 2012 at 11:05 AM · Report this
Also, off base, and not about music - Khan wears a lot of things on his head. Not out of disrespect for other cultures—but in homage. If you'd ever had a conversation with him, this would already be obvious
Posted by Kelly O on September 4, 2012 at 11:17 AM · Report this
owlie 12
Many cultures use head dresses in various ceremonies and ritual, often decorated with feathers, beads, devotional objects, and shiny things. Have you ever heard of Haitian Diasporas? Montreal (it’s in Canada, you know, where Khan is from) has a large community of Haitians living there as it has been for quite a while now and a lot of them practice this thing called Vodou (voodoo). It is common for a person to pick up the traditions of his/her peers and neighbors. High ranking figures and or witchdoctors often wear these head pieces that I speak of. I would consider the King a witchdoctor of sorts, bringing the motherfucking ruckus to the people. Maybe he just wasn’t feeling it on Saturday. Maybe your sucky ass vibes were killing it. You clearly have no mojo. Perhaps a prescription of shaking your ass could have saved you. Secondly, that shirt was made by his wife and why the hell did you incorporate his wife into your "review” anyway? He is most famous for the Lindsay Lohan thing? Really??!! I think the run in Lou Reed (wiki him, he is a pretty neat musician) was a bit more of a thing than fun times with LiLo. I think his musical talent may have something to do with his fame as well. I agree with beef. Kelly should cut you. Sean wood should cut you too. Everyone has a chance to be redeemed by supreme genius but for now you just stick to the Vera Project, Kiddo.
Posted by owlie on September 4, 2012 at 11:20 AM · Report this
derek_erdman 13
I've been wearing a Baltimore Orioles baseball hat for the last few months. This is the first time I've felt bad about wearing it.
Posted by derek_erdman on September 4, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
We could, instead, be talking about how they played Khan's tribute to the late, great Jay Reatard, "Hammer Ich Vermisse Dich" (a cover of Reatard's "Hammer I Miss You", sung in German)

Or even the super collectable, sold-out new Spits+Khan album, also recorded in German…
Posted by Kelly O on September 4, 2012 at 11:57 AM · Report this
You're inane, misguided sanctimony is offensive, ya dig? Besides the eloquence about headdresses and their wider cultural significance above, one look at the photo and Khan's whole get-up far more closely resembles the carnival dancers in New Orleans or Brazil even. Seriously, did you think you had an "Oh, Snap!" moment with that self-righteous drivel? Please stop her from making any further so-called observations.
Posted by shoogieshoog on September 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
We all know the main fallacy of this article is really that it denies Khan's indisputable sexiness in that golden getup.
Posted by Zachariah Bryan on September 4, 2012 at 12:40 PM · Report this
AHHHH!!! Spits/Shines album is wonderful and the jay tribute was bittersweet. red yellow black version <3
Posted by harbourmaster on September 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM · Report this
SOLD OUT?!! NOOOoooooooooo!!!!! Does anyone know how to get a copy? Kelly? Help?
Posted by Doctor Nurse on September 4, 2012 at 1:00 PM · Report this
#14, thanks, I was wondering what the name of that Retard tribute song at the show was. It was a rather rocking garage song and one of the best ones of the set.

He said he was thinking about him. I wondering if that accounted for a supposedly low energy effort on his part--still a great set which may be a tribute to his tight as all get out band.
Posted by neo-realist on September 4, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
@18 - there's still some, mail order, from this UK site (I think!)…
Posted by Kelly O on September 4, 2012 at 4:13 PM · Report this
owlie 21
The Jay song was amazing/sweet/sad. I can't wait for the new album. I want that split.The Fred and Fred collision was also pretty great.
Posted by owlie on September 5, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this

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