King Khan & BBQ. Photo by Steve Cross.
For more photos, check out the slideshow.
We had high expectations for Thursday night’s performance by the King Khan and BBQ show, having been promised an experience that would make us want to “break chairs, have sex.” So when we walked into Exit/In, just as the Canadian two-piece were beginning their set, we were surprised at the number of patrons still wearing jackets. This crowd didn’t look ready to start breaking anything, let alone make love to each other! The club may have been a little drafty, but shouldn’t Nashville’s rock 'n' roll fans have been working up a sweat—or at least drinking too heavily to feel the cold?
The band had the right idea. While BBQ was dressed conservatively, in black pants and shirt, black cape and red turban, King Khan brought some flash, performing shirtless in Daisy Dukes, a curly pharaoh wig with gold headband, and a sort of gold mesh shoulder garment festooned with mirrors. Apparently he’s the exhibitionist of the two?
The dudes got things started with an old favorite, “Waddlin’ Around,” and moved quickly through a set heavy on rhythmic stomp, while showing off their stylistic range. The crowd seemed a bit bewildered by their doo-wop-y slow jams (“Into the Snow”), but their fast punk rockers (“Dock It #8”) did get people jumping around excitedly enough to bump us in the nose. As we wittily remarked at the time: “Ouch, that really hurt!”
By the end of the set, even the non-moshers were ready to get down, at least a little bit. They complied with Khan’s request, at the beginning of a brief encore, to “get into it, clap your hands.” This display of moderate enthusiasm managed to impress the band, at least by contrast: Khan went on to note that “last time we were here, it sucked shit.”
The show ended all too soon around midnight. By that time, there was no sign of spontaneous chair breakage, but at least one audience member had removed his jacket, and revealed a flamboyant fashion statement of his own: an ironic Christmas sweater. And it’s not even Thanksgiving!