King Khan and the Shrines @Whelan’s, Dublin

King Khan and the Shrines at Whelan’s – 19th April

Berlin based Arish ‘King’ Khan and The Shrines, a big band consisting of crazy Khan and nine wildly, talented musicians exploded onto stage last Saturday night. Best known for music steeped in punk, free jazz, psychedelic funk and 70′s era soul – they are popular on the cult music scene sharing the same music label as Arcade Fire. Khan was last to arrive. Flamboyantly dressed with a feather crown and tiger-skinned cap above shimmering pants – at times, he shook his tattooed pot-belly at us.

‘Bite my tongue’ blew our heads off as the band twirled and grooved in their matching black glittering shirts and bone necklaces. Khan took his crown of feathers off for a song about a close friend who had died. Moving from punk, soul, to slower jazzier material from 2013′s ‘Idle No More’ album, they really mixed it up, ‘Born to Die’ is just excellent with its swirling keys, guitar riffs and utterly perfect musicianship.

Laughing like the boogie man, women rubbed his thighs, while he stuck the mic down his pants and waved his cape. All of the band had their moment in the spotlight, percussionist Ron Streeter (ex. Ike & Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder) performed an outstanding solo, while the rest of the band simply looked like they were having the time of their lives. The night ended with the entire band playing improv in the crowd slowly exiting one by one.

At times it was hard to keep up with them, between Khan and his random outbursts “I’m the son of a racist, he was one bad motherfucker”, the bands hyperactivity, and the sexual innuendos. You needed to be ready for Khan and the ‘James Brown’ style antics and insane costume changes.

Stand out songs played on the night were ‘Live Fast Die Strong’, ‘No Regrets’ and Bond movie style ‘Born to Die’. Larger than life, intense, but still an unforgettable experience.

Review by Aine Byrne

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