King Khan & the Shrines // Photo Credit: Cory Butcher
By Cory Butcher
King Khan brought his Shrines to Portland on a brisk Monday night, playing to a packed house at Dante’s. Local go-go/soul band The Satin Chaps opened the night, and there was already a decent sized crowd at the outset. Their 60s sound got everyone moving, and their matching neckerchiefs looked pretty dapper.
Next up was Hellshovel, a western-tinged garage-psych outfit from Montreal. Their set was a bit different than the preceding band, as instead of upbeat pop soul, they played fuzzy, stoney rock. It was a nice change of pace, as the crowd nodded their heads appreciatively, letting the sound wash over them. After some extended spacey guitar work, and a lot of fog (seriously the fog machine was running for most of the show), the crowd was prepared for the King.
King Khan and the Shrines hit the stage around 11:30 PM, immediately launching the crowd into a frenzied mass of dancing, moshing, and general chaos. Evoking James Brown at times with his movements and his caterwauling, King Khan made it impossible for the audience not to move. The Shrines were just as energetic, sounding extremely tight, performing choreographed movements, and keeping the crowd pumped up whenever they had any free time. Early in the set, I’m pretty sure I saw the keyboard crowdsurfing, which was a first. As the set went on, Khan played a few of his more garage-styled songs, including a new track dedicated to the late Jay Reatard. After a solid hour of raucous energy, he left the stage, only to return for the encore after donning a giant wig and stripping down only to a speedo and a cape. I wasn’t always sure what was going on at the show, but I do know that I was consistently entertained. Afterwards, I saw some EMTs and policemen tending to some injured concertgoers outside the venue, so the night was officially PUNK ROCK.