Harold Ray: Live in Concert / The Jack London Squares
The King Khan & BBQ Show

Gilman Street
November 19, 2005

Review by Jake Thomas

Even after having lived in this area for more than five years, this was my first trip to the legendary Gilman Street club. And what better place to see some local pop and soulsters and a touring duo of Canucks?

I made it off my couch and out to this show for one very specific reason - The King Khan and BBQ Show. The hype amongst some of my acquaintances about this tour was so much that I was sure there was no way it could ever live up to the talk - but I was entirely wrong. It was garage rock and doo-wop pop and Chuck Berry giddy-up guitar work and a male burlesque show all wrapped up into one. BBQ sat in the back and played guitar, banged on the drums with his feet, and sang with his amazing voice while King Khan scurried about the stage with his guitar and occasional vocal accompaniment. A few songs into the set Khan decided it was time for a costume change, so he took all of his clothes off on the stage and put on a dress and a wig, and then proceeded to “tea bag” some poor unsuspecting kid standing at the front of the stage. He even tried to get me to have a meeting with his balls but I think I was too big for him to press the issue too much. It was highly entertaining to watch, great to listen to (I was impressed with how good the sound was), and more than lived up to my expectations.

As soon as they finished, I purchased BBQ’s album and to my surprise a band started playing in the small back room - it was The Jack London Squares, which features two of The Mothballs (Ryan and Aaron - The Mothballs also opened the show but I couldn’t drag my ass out there in time for them) and another cat on drums who I didn’t recognize, but then again I’m no good with faces and worse with names. Anyway, it was fun poppy-punk not too dissimilar from what The Mothballs play, just real catchy and simple fun music that makes you want to dance. It was quite a sight seeing most of the crowd packed into this tiny room, I’m sure if there was a thermometer on the wall it was rising in a rapid, cartoon-like fashion from all of the body heat. They played a short set, finished with a Clarendon hills cover, and then just like that it was time for Harold Ray…no down time makes Jake a happy boy.

I’m not going to get into the Harold Ray show too much, but it was great as usual but a little different - for one, much of the band was drunk or high or both which led to some strange song choices and hilarious banter from Jason, the singer. This all culminated in the finale of “25 Miles,” which was stretched into this 20+ minute long opus where he made the crowd get down on their knees and then rambled on about pretty much any topic you could think of, but a lot of talk about sports and Canadian music in particular. It was retarded and hilarious at once, which is just how I like my good times. And this night was a very good time.

Check out our previous Harold Ray: Live in Concert reviews:
August 26, 2004 @ Hotel Utah
October 29, 2005 @ The Ivy Room
June 9, 2005 @ Rickshaw Stop

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