If you noticed the broadcast turn off abruptly during the live session with King Khan and the Shrines, you just heard one of two things: a sign that once again he went too far, or the massive takeover by his rabid fans of the KEXP broadcast from the Bumbershoot Music Lounge stage. Pretty much anything can happen with King Khan and the Shrines. Known (possibly) to his family as Arish Ahmad Khan, King Khan is a musical madman, performing with like-minded (read: wild and crazy) musicians to create a frenzied garage pop that’s as entertainingly theatrical as it is skillfully performed.
It’s been some time, though, since the release of his last album, The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines (Vice, 2008), and while he’s kept busy with other projects like Almighty Defenders featuring members of Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ Show with cohort Mark Sultan, and an as yet untitled project with Wu-Tang Clan member GZA, his performance live on KEXP from the Bumbershoot Music Lounge showed the world what the Shrines have been up to lately.
Most of the set in the packed Music Lounge was filled with familiar songs, like opener “Land of the Freak”, and in true form, King Khan and his 8-member band were dressed for a show, they in fancy black outfits adorned with shell necklaces, and he in tall feathered headdress and fringed purple jacket. One explosive song after another — including two new ones, “Bit My Tongue” and “So Wild,” which truly lived up to its name — and the crowd was a raucous as the children’s theater is likely to see all year, particularly as guitarist Mr. Speedfinger jumped into the crowd and jammed from mid audience.
There’s nothing like experiencing a King Khan show, so if you’re at Bumbershoot today, catch him at the Fisher Green at 4:15pm — or hope they come back to Seattle soon!