The King Khan & BBQ Show returned to Atlanta, playing East Atlanta’s iconic venue The EARL to a packed out enthusiastic crowd. And by enthusiastic, we mean off the charts energy, dancing, moshing, screaming, rants, and just utter chaos. Basically it’s been a long time since The EARL hit this level, and it couldn’t have been a better show.
The nitty gritty: The King Khan & BBQ Show have reached cult status, and after finally seeing them live, it’s clear why. The duo of Mark Sultan (BBQ – vocals, guitar, tambourine, bass drum, and snare drum) and Blacksnake (King Khan – guitar, vocals) were originally bandmates in the Montreal band Spaceshifts before being disbanded in 1999. Arish (Blacksnake) started under the moniker King Khan with his band King Khan & His Shrines, while Sultan went solo under BBQ. The former bandmates reunited and started writing songs together in 2002, releasing their debut self titled album as The King Khan & BBQ Show in 2004. After releasing their third album, Invisible Girl, in 2009 and playing a festival in Australia hand selected by Lou Reed, the band announced their break up in 2010, leaving the world without one of it’s best rock n roll live acts. By 2011, the duo were back together making new music, eventually releasing their fourth album Bad New Boys in early 2015. And they sure haven’t missed a beat.
Switching vocals from the soulful Sultan, to King Khan’s snottier punk voice, the duo blend elements of garage rock, punk, doo wop, surf rock, to soul, but the one constant is pure unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll. It’s debauchery at it’s finest with a duo creating the sound of five men. It’s music you want to shout at the top of your lungs to. You want to dance. You even want to push the person next you across the room while giving them a hug all at the same time. That’s exactly what Atlanta did. This room couldn’t help itself, there wasn’t one person in that joint not dancing everywhere, with hands in the air and a smile on their face. It was the type of show a live music fiend lives for, one of those shows that you measure all other shows up against. The band did their part, their crowd did theirs, we were all in this together.
The duo is there for a good time, always keeping it light with funny quotes throughout the evening, whether trying to be funny, or just not holding their tongue back saying early in the evening, “We have been in Atlanta for 10 years, we love this place even though everyone is too busy doing Skrillex, or whatever that drug is, to show up.”
Besides what the band is saying or playing, as soon as they walk on stage, you know you are in for a special treat when you see their outfits, but we will let the pictures do the talking about that. But it wasn’t just the band itself that decided to get crazy on the outfits and bare it all. There was special, perhaps not exactly invited on stage guests throughout the evening, with one particular sequence getting about as wild as it possibly gets. But this is the PG13 version, so what happens on The EARL stage, stays at The EARL and for those who weren’t there to see, well you missed out BIG TIME. During the mayhem, Sultan went on rants about what was going down saying “I don’t give a shit what you do with your life as long as you enjoy it, fuck this PC shit, if you don’t like it, you can suck my …..”, all while King Khan was ready to just keep the party going, keep playing. As soon as this particular incident ended, they said “Well we wanted to have a really fun show and we’ve done it.” Yes, yes you sure did.
From there the band kept playing and it just kept kicking up another notch, with multiple beautiful girls jumping up on the stage with the band to dance, and the rest of the crowd crouched over each other hanging over the stage from the floor partying like no other Monday night. The King Khan & BBQ Show are a force of nature, and like anyone will tell you who has seen them over the last 10+ years, don’t miss the chance to see this band live, it’s impossible not to give into what they are selling on stage, though quite frankly, they don’t give a f*ck and will party with or without you.
To open the show The King Khan & BBQ Show brought along fellow Canucks, Milk Lines (Toronto) who just released their debut album, Ceramic, in September. The band warmed up the crowd nicely with a great set of psychedelic garage pop tunes with hints of alt country, keeping it interested and not sounding like any other psych/punk band. The group switched lead vocals song by song between girl/guy, sometimes harmonizing together, other times adding the bassist to the harmonies with hints of some 50s old style bluegrass mixed in the lead male’s vocals. These Canadians are making some good ole rock music, and are ones to watch out for.
Photos By John McNicholas:
A few clips from the mayhem: