King Khan & BBQ | 11.30.12

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live king-khanThe sexual growl of “Treat Me Like a Dog” was a surprising show highlight that found the audience clapping along to its breakdown.

 

Off Broadway, St. Louis

In a lounge area forged in the back stairwell behind the merch area at Off Broadway, Mark Sultan and Arish Ahmad Khan sipped drinks and casually conversed. Due to a drug possession charge three and a half years ago, this was the first time most St. Louis fans had the opportunity to see the newly reformed Canadian duo. However, fans were still able to spot the black-hoodied Khan and the street-clothed Sultan for a picture and chat as the veteran members of GONN powered through a set of covers and originals as old as rock itself.

The simultaneous multi-instrumentalists humbly climbed on stage to set up their own equipment. They returned in character, rock-star mode, Mardi Gras-themed costumes and immediately fired through the racing opener, “Fish Fight.” Khan exclaimed “I don’t give a fuck” to begin “Zombies,” a hard-headed and bratty number whose lyrics ask, “Would you hate me, masturbate me/ And tell your friends how you complete me?” The psych-garage-soul-etc. revivalists brought the party to the seasonably warm St. Louis night over the next 15 songs, which were full of stage-diving, moshing, and hilarious guitar antics. After the strong “I’ll Be Loving You,” Khan laid down the only rule of the night: “If you’re gonna come on stage, don’t fuck shit up.”

The sexual growl of “Treat Me Like a Dog” was a surprising show highlight that found the audience clapping along to its breakdown. This encouraged Khan to launch into “a real dance number” segued by the eight-minute jam session, an inevitable Chuck Berry dedication. Sultan often took lead vocals while playing both the guitar and drum pedals. They blazed through “Hold Me Tight” and “Can’t Get You Outta My Mind” before offering a song that the lovers could shove their hands in their pants to, “Too Much in Love.”

The band shied away from most stage banter and only slowed things down a bit on “Into the Snow,” a fitting love doo-wop as the set went into the midnight hour on this eve of December. Then, unapologetically, the band segued back into their most blistering. The highlight of their set was the trio of “Invisible Girl, a song I cannot put a title to involving “the back of your daddy’s cadillac,” and the always awesome “Bimbos Theme.” While the seemingly messy duo rifled through their set, many songs were true to studio form, which is more of an indicator of their raw recordings. The vulgar “Tastebuds” and “hit” “I Love You So” rounded out the set. Khan and Sultan didn’t make the adoring (mostly male) and extremely appreciative crowd beg for more for long. A rollicking encore medley ensued in less than a minute.

The nearly sold-out crowd couldn’t ask for more as the newly reformed band appeared in great spirits (though fairly sober), extremely gracious, in harmony with each other, and in cahoots with the audience. It was all that is pure fun, that is rock, that is Friday night—and all in exchange for cheap beer and a $12 cover. | Joseph O’Fallon

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