Wednesday 23 January 2013

Review: King Khan & The Shrines

Every year, January bores us to bits. And every year, there is that one gig that makes up for the whole rest of the month, gets us excited, hot and sweaty. This year, the Maharaja of Soul returned to give us all some garage gospel music for the soul. In tow: an eight piece band called The Shrines. And Festsaal? Packed to the rim, rivalling that infamous Electralane gig, which was apprently the fullest Festsaal had ever been.

Having mastered the queue to the newly established basement cloakroom and survived the heat shock when entering the steaming concert room, it was immediately clear to us that only the far right side of the balcony had any space left for us. Unless we wanted to start climbing on top of people. Which we didn't. As the evening progressed, we sure were glad we had secured that balcony space because things would get wild.

There is always this tension before a King Khan gig (whether it be with The Shrines or BBQ) when you wonder what madness is going to ensue and you start debating which costumes would be donned on stage this time. Therefore, when the King entered the stage, he was met with big eyes (my, now that feather head decoration is elaborate) followed by wild dancing. I mean, seriously, the crowd went crazy from the word go and somehow managed to grow even crazier as the evening progressed. What a fest! 

Of course, the band is firing the crowd on. Yes, it's that way round. King Khan is in his majestic persona while The Shrines climb the stage interior, join the crowd, blow that horn section till they're dizzy. They are met not only by dancing but stage diving, sexual posing, toplessness and other antics of the sort. It is all rather surreal simply because, musically, it is essentially soul, not snotty garage rock the way he plays with BBQ, but James Brownesque gospel soul, a little roughed up maybe.

Oh what fun! Oh how we smiled! Oh how we jigged! 

And then back to the cold, another temperature shock, and back to our cosy homes. And we wonder what just happened. And we go back into our winter hybernation and it all seems a distant memory very quickly, while we freeze and dream of sunshine. And of hot garage soul at the hands of the Maharaja. Until next time.

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