Concert Reviews

Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ Show, Pet Sun at Phoenix Concert Theatre

I may be more than a few years removed from my university days, but I’m not too old to remember that Thursdays were the most rockin’ nights of the entire week, something to look forward to.

The one campus pub I frequented the most – which shall remain nameless as lawsuits are still pending all these eons later – always spun the most intense, slam-tastic and F-U-N music imaginable. I made sure not to schedule many classes the day after so as to rest and recover. I say all this because September 25th at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre was incredibly reminiscent of the good times I used to have when I was significantly younger and considerably more carefree.

“Loose” is a good way to describe local openers Pet Sun. (Well, if you consider the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hammer of Hamilton nearby enough!) Looking like the flannel love children of The Sheepdogs and Sonic Youth, their slightly sludgy garage rock set the tone perfectly for the wildness that was to come. As I tweeted in the heat of the moment, keep yer ears peeled for this band!

King Khan & BBQ Show are demigods among truly indie performers, and as such can do pretty much whatever the hell they want, including come out on stage in blonde wigs, masquerade masks and capes/nipple-exposing sweaters that made them look more like pro wrestlers rather than a kick drum and guitars heavyweight tag team (after soundchecking “normally” and fully clothed, I might add). They’re outrageous and a tad shocking, but when it comes down to it, all they want to do is play ass-shaking tunes about carnal relations that would make shocked and disgraced religious types go running for their holy books. Whatever they want to call themselves going forward, whether it be Jumbo Lions, Bad News Boys, or Zen Machines, I’m just glad to have them back on the scene, with a new album called We Are the Champion on the horizon in 2015.

As for Atlanta’s fave flower punks Black Lips, there isn’t much more that can be said if you’ve had the privilege of seeing this raucous and occasionally raunchy foursome live in the past. This is actually their second appearance at Toronto’s Phoenix this year; they punked up the former Diamond back in April, shortly after the release of Underneath the Rainbow, the first Black Lips album to chart on the Billboard 200. Bodies flailed about recklessly during nearly every song, Cole Alexander probably puked at some point, and we even got an Almighty Defenders reunion! For the uninitiated, that’s the Black Lips / King Khan & BBQ Show “supergroup” that made a solitarily memorabe doo-wopish album in 2009. If the audience wasn’t sufficiently freaked out from the previous couple of hours, they definitely left a little woozier and hazier after being serenaded with relatively unknown gems like “Cone of Light” and “All My Loving”.

About author

Gilles LeBlanc literally fell into “alternative rock” way back at Lollapalooza 1992, where he got caught in his first mosh pit watching some band named Pearl Jam. Since then, he’s spent the better part of his life looking for music to match the liberating rush he felt that day, with a particular chest-beating emphasis on stuff coming out of his native Canada. You can follow his alter ego on Twitter: @ROCKthusiast.