The Black Lips are famous for doing crazy things onstage — such as playing their guitars with their willies — so if you can find a performer who has shocked the Black Lips with his antics, you’ve really found something. And if he screams out lyrics like “My baby’s fat/ She’s ugly/ She’s fat and ugly/ But I love her!”…well, all the better. That’s the quick and dirty take on King Khan, who, with his 11-piece garage-soul band the Shrines, has been wowing, stunning, and shocking jaded European audiences for several years and has recently started conquering America.
His full story is more complicated, more interesting, and…well, probably just as vulgar. Khan used to be known as Blacksnake, and he played in a Montreal band called the Spaceshits. (See what I mean about vulgarity?) While touring Germany he decided to quit the band and stay in Germany. Eventually he renamed himself King Khan. At the same time Khan kept up a friendship with Mark Sultan, a.k.a. BBQ — a cohort from the Spaceshits days — who has his own garage-soul band, Les Sexareenos. In between tours with their bands the two formed a duo called the King Khan & BBQ Show and started playing shows and recording in a style that can be described as garage-punk doo-wop.
You can tell from song titles like “Teenage Foetus” that neither Khan nor BBQ put the weirdness aside for this project. Still, this is not just a freak show. As outlandish as they may be, few performers are as good at garage-punk styles as King Khan and BBQ.
THE KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW, Casbah, Tuesday, November 11, 8:30 p.m. 619-232-4355. $10 advance; $12 door.