(Sorry for the slightly messed up layout of this blog, cant work out why it's not working)
Like something I could only invent in my head. A unity of edgy 60's Garage kicks and late 60's / early 70's live-wire shock treatment R & B, with all the punk and funk that that implies. Its the kind of thing that Jukebox/Splash one favourites such as The Dirtbombs and Detroit cobras (hell sometimes even the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) have come close to nailing but never quite hit the mark like these guys. Pure James Brown meets MC5 - with a Spike Milligan/Monty Python twist!
They first came to my attention last year when a friend wouldn't stop ranting to me about them, the sort of rant that is usually followed by disappointment when the music is finally heard. Not so with King Khan, who on first listen more than justified the hype. My friend had come to the band via their association with brilliant Atlanta based garage band The Black lips, with whom some members of King Khan have formed a super group.
The band describe themselves as not so much a band but an all star international movement, this claim it seems is backed up by anyone who has witnessed their chaotic high octane live shows, like their London debut that got so rowdy it was stopped by the Police. These gigs are said to take influence from Sun Ra's Arkestra and George Clinton'sParliament-Funkadelic, these are pretty bold claims to make if you cant back them up. The evidence thankfully is all over the Internet, gig after gig people are left reeling from the soul power of this 11 piece band. In true Clinton style the on stage shenanigans are already
legendary within the underground garage community, on stage nudity, arson, cross dressing, you name it
and it's gone on in the mix up on stage at some point.
Front manArish ''King'' Khan describes the live experience ''I like to compare our live shows to a gospel freak-out
from back in the day - [as] if there was a Japanese animation monster with nine penises running through the church.''
Another kooky aspect to the band is the Voodoo angle - front man Khan practices Voodoo in his spare time, and is part of a secret voodoo death cult, known as The Kukomongas(The black lips are also members).
The band take influence from a deep well of serious soul gospel, jazz and funk including Sun Ra, Eddie Floyd, The Falcons, Funkadelic, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Curtis Mayfield - but unlike other modern day soul/funk outfits these guys keep things rockin' with a charged punk rock spirit, and a sense of adventure that has seen their music often described as psychedelic soul, there's certainly enough far out Nuggets style elements in there to justify this label.
I'm really excited that King Khan & the Shrines are heading to Newcastle (The Other rooms) for an unmissable gig that should prove to be a talking point for some time to come.