King Khan is a Montreal native who now lives in Berlin. He borrows as much from 1960s girl groups as he does from the era's grainy garage rock. He skirts the frontiers of Chuck Berry-style rock and roll, and Sam Cooke-kissed R&B, while scuffing his music with a punk ethos that makes for riotous live shows. Speaking of skirts, he and drummer Mark Sultan (aka BBQ) often perform in drag.
The duo first performed together as the Spaceshits, a punk band that released two records in the late '90s on the hip indie label Sympathy for the Record Industry. Khan moved to Europe, but he and Sultan stayed in touch. They've since released a pair of albums and toured the globe several times. They enjoy a kind of savage kinship that drives them to spasms of primal energy onstage. While BBQ pounds rudimentary beats on bass, snare, and tambourine, Khan plays dirty guitar riffs underneath downright nasty songs. He isn't above begging ("Treat Me Like a Dog"), pleading ("Why Don't You Lie?"), or even offending ("Suck It and Smell") to make his point. Ultimately, the King Khan and BBQ Show manages a sort of jukebox heroism that elevates simple three-chord rave-ups to the height of pure bliss.