Resplendent in hot pants, a painted leather waistcoat, a borrowed wig and plastic beads, King Khan is a not-so-little Richard whose Johnny-B-Bad bargain bin riffola and plus sized stage presence has captured the hearts and minds of the Vice set. His be-turbaned cohort, BBQ, is Mark Sultan former Spaceshit, Sexareeno and sometimes Shrine.
A one-man band in his own right, Sultan stomped out the backbeat on a tiny kit and strummed a beat up guitar, whilst Khan straifed the audience with his telecaster. Their no-fi repertoire ran from velvet doo-wop to unreconstructed rock & roll via fifty second excursions into death metal sung, naturally enough, in Czech. What saved this well worn shtick from mediocrity was Khan and Sultan’s outsized stage personas and their determination to have a good time (their final number saw Sultan reappearing as a giant octopus).
The filling in this junk food party banquet, a slice of whitebread between two ground beef patties, was formed by The Black Lips whose standard punk ‘n roll was accompanied by the traditional baptism of beer and spit and went down well with a hopped up audience bent on stage invasions and crowd surfing. At one point Khan emerged from behind the curtains to garland the drummer with his plastic prawn necklace. Their ramalama swamp rock harmonies were garage tight but the Lips wore their influences a little too prominently on their sleeves for my taste.
A song dedicated to the pope, “He touched me” and chants of “I hate you Motherfucker” made it clear that these revivalists intentions were a long way from straight edge, their evangelical mission to spread the gospel and speak in the tongues of hedonism. It was a shame that their irreverence didn’t extend to their musical inspiration but the audience, amongst which I spotted an autographed Devo Energy Dome, were clearly too de-evolved to care.