Published May 20, 2009As the frustrating law of live music always states, the show starts on time when you decide to arrive a little bit late, and starts late when you're early. Such was the case tonight, where our arrival at 9:30 p.m. meant missing the majority of Calgary newcomers Puberty as they ploughed through a set of raw, messy garage punk.
Combining the lo-fi swagger of Vivian Girls with the raw fury of Vancouver's White Lung, their recorded material is top-notch, and the small live portion we caught lived up to these expectations. Quickly after, Mark Sultan took the stage, who, when he performs as BBQ, utilizes an amazingly full but stripped-down set-up where he uses kick pedals to play both the kick and snare while pushing his bottom-heavy garage riffs through two amplifiers. It all provides the absolutely perfect backdrop for his buttery smooth voice that can transform from soulful croon to punk rock caterwaul within seconds. Not only did it sound incredible, but also allowed Sultan to shift between tempos and even entire songs in seconds without sacrificing quality of sound.
Still, it was nothing compared to the sheer, transcendent energy of King Khan and his absolutely remarkable Shrines. While the intense soul, psych, R&B, and garage on their LPs set the bar unreasonably high for King Khan and the Shrines, their set managed to exceed expectations. While Khan let his raspy voice do the talking, the seven-piece band pushed a timeless brand of soul that combined top-level skill with punk rock rattle. Playing all of his expected hits, Khan channelled the soul of a timeless entertainer, inciting a level of excitement that was only topped when Sultan came back on stage to join in for a number. In the end, the band members and audience alike left drenched in sweat, beer, and rock'n'roll.