Live Review

King Khan & The Shrines, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen

People are actually dancing, doing the twist and everything. It’s all groove.

John Brown, James Travolta

- aaah fuck it, let’s just call him King Kool, ‘cause that is most definitely what he is. Otherworldly, yet still the hippest son of a bitch to grace the earth. With a voice unlike any other “trendy” artist of the moment and moves fit to rival Wacko Jacko, he is the messiah, well, at least he’s our messiah. Would we be going too far if we said he was the saviour of modern music?

On seeing the two supporting acts, we ready ourselves for a normal gig experience: head bobbing in approval, or snobbish nothingness in disapproval. Pretty standard stuff. Both Black Time and Let’s Wrestle prove themselves as good little acts. Though neither of them fill the odd space that Hoxton’s Bar & Kitchen offer us, they still fill the place with good vibes. London’s Black Time are boisterous and loud: lots of distortion, as is the trend, shouts and smiles. They’re friendly and they joke. Half way through their set (unless we hadn’t noticed before), a little lady appears on stage to join frontman Lemmy Caution on vox. The way she chews her gum pisses us off: manners? Let’s Wrestle, also from London, are far from impolite. They sweetly ask us, the crowd, to move forward as much as possible, as the empty space is making them uncomfortable. This is being said as singer Wesley Patrick Gonzales swigs poshly from a wine glass into which he pours his own special red, from his own special bottle. Endearing and heart-warming, their set is light and fluffy.

It is with happy faces that The Shrines begin their soundcheck. All of them older than your average Hoxtonite, they each wear a sort of tribal necklace on top of their black clothes - a uniform? A costume? Khan’s band is made up of a drummer, a guitarist, a bassist - so yes, the standard trio - but add to that an organ, a trumpet, a saxophone and a trombone! Wow, big band. Big noise. The guys begin to jam and they sound so good. Laid back and comfortable in their places, guitarist Mr. Speedfinger steps up and introduces… Out of nowhere, an asian guy in a white suit clutching a skeleton ritual stick thing leaps onto the stage and the party starts. ‘Cause that is what it’s like with these dudes, one great big awesome party. People are actually dancing, doing the twist and everything. It’s all groove, and Khan performs half the set amongst us. Running around, screeching in our faces, grinding on our knees: it’s all very up close and personal. The relationship between the act and the audience is outstanding: during his “gospel number” he gets us all going “Yeah!” and “What?!”, raising our arms in the air and doing jazz hands. He can make us do anything he wants. But then that’s ‘cause he’s King.

Tags: Features

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