Saturday, November 19, 2005

Punk Attitude



The King Khan and BBQ Show made its way to Los Angeles earlier this week, with two shows. One was at an open mic night at Mr T's Bowl in Highland Park, a mostly Hispanic neighborhood east of downtown LA. They had great late night taco stands on Figueroa Street... The punk thing about that show, the first of the West Coast tour for this duo of one-man-bands, was that it was originally supposed to be at a different venue (The Scene in Glendale) but in some misunderstanding/confusion, was never actually booked. So, the band made do - with some help from their local friends - and found another venue.

The second Los Angeles show was at a place called The Smell. Presumably the name arises from the fact that this cavernous, brick-walled art hang opens onto an alley in the deserted-at-night downtown Los Angeles, in the shadow of the financial district and the Los Angeles Times. I noticed some interesting taco joints in the 'hood there too.

Anyway, fresh from a road trip to and from San Diego, both the Lamps and the King Khan and BBQ Show put on a no-holds-barred, completely unhinged night of loudness and mayhem.

The night I spent seeing this show at the Smell reminds me of 1977 and going to places like the Masque. A small crowd hanging out in the alley. Music starts. Fans of the band playing go inside; everyone else hangs outside. You can hear the music from the alley. Its dirty rock n roll of the punk variety. A great soundtrack for a hang in the alley. No alcohol is sold or served inside. People are drinking their spiked sodas, mineral waters and fruit juices outside. Its juvenile. Reminded me of old punk days, to be sure.

I went inside to see the Lamps and they were louder than a band should be. I don't blame them, but the acoustics of the big brick-walled warehouse. All loud, noisy guitars and the vocals were lost in the mix. Not that it mattered. The energy was there.

After a quick turnover, the King Khan and BBQ show set up on the floor, in front of the stage. Of course, that the stage was empty inspired an audience member with some burlesque skills to do her thing. Midway through the set, King Khan complained that he and BBQ never got to see the dancing going on behind them (ever. Does this happen often with those guys? Perhaps), so the dancer joined the band on the floor. They asked her to put her tutu back on! I guess they wanted her to do her stripper thing all over again...

All through the set, the audience participated in their loving drunken way. There was no barrier between them and the band, after all.

A high point of the King Khan and BBQ Show is that King Khan transforms into this "Tina" character - complete with a tight mini dress and lavender page-boy wig. He changes clothes in full view of the crowd... yep, gets buck naked and that seems to kick the mayhem up a few notches.

You will not be seeing nudie pix of King Khan here, buy I'm sure you can find them online. There were quite a lot of digital cameras snapping away.

I leave you with this "Family Portrait" of the Lamps with the King Khan and BBQ Show.

The Lamps and King Khan and BBQ

You can see more photos from this show at my Garage Band Pictures site.

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