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Review: King Khan & BBQ Show

King Khan & BBQ Show, Valley Bar, King Khan & BBQ Show live

Last night, Valley Bar sold out for King Khan & BBQ Show’s “Fresh n’ Hot Nipples” tour stop in Phoenix. The show also featured performances by Phoenix favorites Playboy Manbaby, shurp rockers Slipping Into Darkness, and country-tinged, “barbasol psych country” purveyors Milk Lines.

Playboy Manbaby started the night off. Dressed as The Village People, the band played a spirited set featuring new music, as well as a befitting cover of “Y.M.C.A.”. Whether this band is opening a show or closing it out as a headliner, I’m always impressed with the enthusiasm the musicians have on the stage and how infectious their energy is, even with bashful audiences.

Slipping Into Darkness has been on my radar since The Spec interviewed the band earlier this year. The drummer dressed as Raoul Duke (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), the guitarists wore big-nosed masks, and the lead singer dressed as…himself. This was my second time seeing the band. The first was during Viva Phx in the alleyway next to Valley Bar before it became Valley Bar. There’s something about this band’s music and live show that gets people moving. A mosh pit of five or six formed in front of the stage that kept people from moving closer, but it was evident that concertgoers were digging the music. The set was one of my favorites from the night.

Milk Lines plays an interesting variety of music. It’s a little country. A little psychedelic. And all around experimental. Shows with a long lineup can be tricky. Even enthusiastic concertgoers can have a short attention span and get antsy. I think Milk Lines fell victim to the audience disconnect — a little beat from the two previous performances and impatient for the headlining act.

By the time King Khan & BBQ Show came out, the energy level went up. For a sold-out show, the venue seemed uninhabited — the back end of the space open. The Canadian duo, known for mixing garage rock, punk and doo-wop, is touring in support of its new LP Bad News Boys. Naturally, the setlist included several songs from the release and a few older tracks. Some highlights from the night were “Torture,” “Illumination,” “Too Much in Love,” “Tastebuds,” “Kiss My Sister’s Fist” and “Why Don’t You Lie.”

Arish Ahmad Khan is a great showman. From his getup (bondage-style mask, blonde wig, nipples out) to his chats with the crowd between songs — he is entertaining to watch. During the show, he beckoned the crowd to dance, singalong, and “take off your clothes if it gets hot.” Most of the concertgoers complied. Khan also told the fans: ”Don’t let this turn into a circus” and ”We’re here to bridge our countries together by any means necessary.” The band stayed on the stage after its set and played a two-song encore that closed with “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”

On the whole, the show had the right dosage of bone-rattling, spine-tingling rock ’n’ roll that played perfectly on the ghoulish night.

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