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King Brothers at Bottom of the Hill
By SF Weekly Music Editor Jennifer Maerz
April 10, 2008
There’s rock ‘n’ roll that’s in your face and then there’s rock ‘n’ roll that’s in your hair. Last night, Japan’s King Brothers were very much in the latter camp. Or at least the guitarist was very much in my hair. The hyperactive garage punk band was all over the club and off the meds, per usual, when one of its two suit ‘n’ tie-sporting guitarists (the one sweating the most bullets) grabbed a fistful of my hair to rub all over that wet mug of his.
But if you’ve seen these awesome blooze-spazzers before, you know they’re all about crowd participation. When they weren’t grabbing hair, they were strutting along a thin shelf along the wall, throwing the mic into the crowd, getting people to shout “Konnichiwa" or setting up the drum kit on the floor so they could move the whole show inside the tightly circled crowd.
The music? Loudfastrocknroll, of course. Few pauses, fewer explanations. The language was speed, mixed with a kamikaze English-Japanese combo and many murderous howls into a mic stuck inside the mouth. King Brothers are the kind of band that starts with the encore and accelerates from there.
I sorta knew what to expect, having first jumped around during their show in Las Vegas a couple weeks after 9/11. All these years later they still haven’t dulled that mischievous demeanor, and the music is all the more anxious for it. They didn’t even need the special outfits they changed into right before hitting the stage, although the white suit and sombrero on the bassist did add an extra little dazzle to the mix -- was he the same dude who, during the opening set by the Bananas, was against the wall a) in a neon windbreaker b) in neon-splashed parachute pants c) wearing a fanny pack and d) brushing his teeth? Probably.
Any band that ends its show with a splattering of blood on the drums takes this shit very seriously—so the rest of us rock 'n' roll juveniles never have to.