In the Red Records
Once and current bandmates Arish Khan and Mark Sultan
have made a rich and respected history of historically-accurate rock ‘n’ roll
thuggery. Since their graduation from the '90s punk outfit The Spaceshits, the
Canadian duo have reformed and refashioned into pompous frontman and “Supreme
Genius” King Khan, and be-turbaned drummer-guitarist-vocalist BBQ,
respectively. The names may have changed, but little else has budged; the
Show’s third album, Invisible Girl,
is the classic, unshaven garage-gospel you could have seen staggering up a mile
From head to tail, the album boasts a time-honored
checklist of charming, pseudo-adorable, almost-romantic throwback pop as a
vessel for their adolescent, perverse misbehavior. Doo-doo wop, if you will
(actually, you don’t want to know where the catchiest track’s titular “Tastebuds”
end up, but whatever you can imagine, it’s likely worse). It’s derivative,
sure, but this sort of thing is never hackneyed.
The first time I heard Khan and BBQ was in the passenger
seat of a Mustang convertible, driving too fast with the top down. I’m sure I
was standing and screaming, and I may have been waving my shirt around my head.
This is the music of rumpus and puberty, a sweaty hug from an old friend,
crystallized for anytime ingestion.
See also: shrug.
While unquestionably fun, the Show is interchangeable with any number of
genre-humping garage-rockers; it’s a niche that’s been carved especially deep
in our native Atlanta scene. If you’ve heard one Black Lips or Howlies record,
you’ve heard Invisible Girl a
thousand times. In fact, when the Khan/BBQ/Lips supergroup album drops, dubbed
the Almighty Defenders, you should already know what to expect: that tried and
true, lo-fi high-five.
And so, the true worth of the Show is the same two-faced
coin as Peelander-Z and Attractive Eighties Women; the music is only half of
the band’s identity, and once you see the confounding, choreographed,
cross-dressing concert, any studio recording becomes a souvenir of a fond, live
music memory. Luckily, the release of Invisible
Girl falls in the same week as the Atlanta gig that would convince you to
pick it up in the first place. And, trust me, convince you it will.
The King Khan and BBQ Show play Rock and Roll Hotel November 2. Tickets are available at Ticket Alternative.