The last time I saw King Khan and Mark Sultan sharing the same stage, it was in the dingy environs of Lucky Ron’s, a swampy room under a florist’s shop.

The two were appearing as part of the late Spaceshits. While a masked Sultan screamed gibberish into his microphone, Khan – a.k.a Blacksnake – was on his knees on a table, chugging a beer bottle with no hands, naked from the waist down, playing his bass guitar (the two women at the table continued a lengthy conversation while this was going on, which goes to show how jaded the Ottawa crowd was back then).

Since then, Sultan has appeared with Montreal garage racketeers Les Sexareenos (under the name Bridge Mixture; he’s the one with a bucket on his head), solo as BBQ and started his own record label, while Khan has moved to Germany and started a 10-man psychedelic soul band, the Shrines.
Khan and BBQ apparently decided to do an official co-tour after Sultan visited Khan in Europe and did a few successful gigs with him there.

They had been scheduled to appear with Wisconsin’s Night Terrors, but the Terrors couldn’t make it – pre-show rumour blamed a death in the family – so on short notice show promoter John Westhaver wangled his new trio, Four’n’Givr onto the stage to thump its way through nine well-received Monks- and Velvet Underground-influenced ur-beat tunes.

Sporting a paint-spattered olive green jacket and a plastic pickelhaube, Khan took a position stage-front, while Sultan handled the drum duties on a kit consisting of one cymbal, a bass drum and a snare tied to a chair and whacked with a foot-pedal. Both had standard issue pawnshop special guitars, and cranked out trebly garage raunch from start to finish. Starting with a greasy tune entitled 'Fish Fry', the duo traversed over (and transgressed against) a sizeable set, including a cover of Johnny Thunders’ 'You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory' and a few extended freakouts (as always, BBQ performed his cover of the Rolling Stone’s 'Out of Time').

BBQ’s voice was as soulful as ever; Khan was sounding a tad rough, but he made up with by both duck-walking and goose stepping, as well as leaping into the crowd, dropping to his knees (his pants remained up for this show) and generally acting like Chuck Berry on speed.

Though the crowd had seemed a little sparse at the beginning, it did fill out and was getting noisy enough to encourage a four-song encore, even after some microphone-stand-trashing antics of the kind that usually indicate a show’s end from Khan.
An energetic, trashy and entertaining show, which definitely left the crowd wanting more.















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