4/5 – King Khan & The Shrines @ Emos

It was a rare night of glorious talent at Emos Monday night, as King Khan, The Fresh & Onlys and The Strange Boys all graced the Austin stages, in a sort of possessed ambiance of the evening. Meanwhile, the legendary Wedding Present pleased fans for hours indoors.  Follow the jump to read more.

When The Strange Boys took to the stage early during the evening, the crowd has barely begun to file into the venue.  Perhaps it led to a little bit of an uninspired evening for the group, as there wasn’t a whole lot of movement going on upon the stage.  Still, those in attendance would have to agree that the band, as always, sound incredible. They’re influences of Southern rock, blues and country, somehow go beyond the sterotypical, making their musical homage incessantly haunting, in the most positive of ways. Oddly missing was their great tune “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up;” it was sorely missed.

When The Fresh & Onlys took to the stage, I was really looking forward to them.  Last time I caught them, they seemed to catch a bad break by being asked to play at 1:30 in the afternoon.  Fortunately, nighttime shows seem to suit the band much better.  Their inspired set saw them play a furious 45 minutes of California-tinged punk with an ominous overtone presented to the audience by Tim Cohen.  When they rocked “You’re Known to Wonder” as Cohen darkly sang into the evening, it was difficult to take your eyes off the singer.  I certainly didn’t complain when they played their hit “Grey-Eyed Girl.”  I left thinking that this might be one of my new favorite live groups, until I discover something better.

Entering the evening dressed in gold was none other than King Khan himself, flanked by his nine man posse of noise-makers, destined to make us all shake it.    Seeing the King command an audience is always somewhat of an ordeal to witness as he shimmies across the stage, often in unison with his various cohorts upon the stage.  As always, it’s difficult to keep your eyes on any one person for long, as the whole group demands your attention, such as one member tucking his genitalia between his legs for the audience as the band whaled away on “I Wanna Be a Girl.”

The evening was full of the perfect mixture of garage rock and grooving R&B tunes.  The group blasted through the majority of What Is, particularly bringing the crowd to a frenzy with “Land of the Freak.”  We were also treated to the wonderful “Outta Harms Way” and “Torture,” which might just be a few of my personal favorites.  For me, the highlight of the night came with the sweet serenade of “Welfare Breed.”  While his yelping and screaming and shaking might be the tops for everyone else, I can’t help but admit I like a little bit of a groove, and nothing sounded as sweet as when he slowed it down mid-set.  It was indeed a grand affair, as it always is with King Khan and the Shrines.

**On a side note, I snuck inside to catch England’s The Wedding Present as they opted to play their classic album Bizarro all the way through.  Of course, always eager to please his fans, David Gedge opened the evening with a series of hits that weren’t included in the evening’s setlist.  As soon as the band jumped into “Crushed” the crowd took off into a glorious evening of listening to their favorite golden oldie.  You’ve gotta give it up to Gedge, as he’s been rocking super-hard for almost 30 years now, and by my brief presence last night, he still has every bit as much energy and pop goodness as ever!

One comment

  • A King Khan show always feels like an old-school revival to me: impassioned audience being incited to frenzy by a larger-than-life ringleader who absolutely everyone is enraptured with.

    Utter insanity, every time.

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