Certain artists like King Khan, known for wild antics on and off the stage, project such vital, magnetic energy that life for them unfolds as just one crazy coincidence after another, with ripple effects trickling down to anyone in their path. Sure, some of the craziness is part of the act, but Khan--who we reported earlier this week hit a rough patch that eventually prompted his sister-in-law, the actress Rose McGowan, to advise him to seek medical help (see our story, Return of the King )--inhabits a mercurial realm that’s neither serious or put on. Whether he’s casually chatting up a fan on the street or exchanging a gold lame jacket for a cape and wig (he did both last night), there’s such an appealing openness to the artist that it invites strange situations. What other force could be at work, then, when I run into my old apartment manager at the show, who I learned just happens to be McGowan’s aunt?
It was in this bubble of colliding worlds that Khan and his seven piece band the Shrines took the stage at Neumos last night, the sixth stop on the band’s North American tour in support of Idle No More. That gold jacket had shoulder pads and gave Khan a very James Brown-like stature, a presence he lived up to, cranking out a soulful set of mostly older tunes like “Out of Harm’s Way,” “Welfare Bread,” “Land of the Freak,” “I Wanna Be A Girl,” and “Took My Lady To Dinner.” The Shrines played with verve and eventually everyone was soaked in sweat; the keys player was really feeling it, when he wasn’t hoisting his board into the air, he was mounting the amps and pumping up the crowd.
The crowd was good, too--pretty dude heavy, but everyone was loving the good vibes, and it was awesome to see Seattle shimmy and shake away a little mid-week stress. Yes, there was dancing--some moshing, too--and the floor was packed for most of the night.
A couple encores rounded out the evening, and “Shivers Down My Spine” was especially tingling. The song about a vampire girlfriend is a sultry number, and Khan, bare-chested in a puffy, bowl-cut afro wig and cape, just killed it. It’s a silly little song, but like the rest of his catalog, such a well-crafted garage rock gem--the true essence of Khan. And for those cast in his net last night, not something forgotten any time soon.