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Go back and listen to 1964. King Khan and the Shrines is what the British Invasion would have sounded like if only they knew more back then and had deeper influences other than American blues, skiffle, and each other. Based in Berlin, the nine-piece horn-and-rhythm-section band was founded 15 years ago, but they sound like an up-to-date Invasion group. Arish Ahmad Khan, a vocalist and guitarist (but who also sometimes plays the king of saxophones — the baritone sax), most often performs near-naked in various types of head gear. He started the Shrines. He was born in Canada. He does not much look like a king. A telling detail: he calls the late Jay Reatard (Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr.) an influence and a brother, even though the two were not related. Khan, likewise, seems to be engrossed, as was Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, with scatological humor. I’ll spare you the details.

Past Event

King Khan & the Shrines and Red Mass

  • Monday, June 30, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Soda Bar, 3615 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+

The Shrines are presented as a psychedelic soul/garage band and their Facebook page lists a core of members that includes Fred Roller on baritone sax, guitarist Till Timm, Jens Redemann on bass, drummer John Boy Adonis, percussionist Ron Streeter, and Simon Wojan on trumpet and guitar. Likened to the Funk Brothers, in the past King Khan has had Sun Ra Arkestra members join in. Therein lies another telling detail — while it’s hard to deny the soul architecture of the Shrines, they are highly experimental. The spirit of adventure looms large among them, hence the attraction of such avant-garde guests. Touring behind Idle No More, the Shrines have pumped out eight full-length CDs in their lifetime and as good as they all may be, I rather fancy them a live act, if only for the show their leader puts on. King Khan is a cartoon character for certain, but he has a plan: to make cult music that you don’t have to be in a cult to like.

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