Khatib the killer

Garage-rock done right on this three-band night

Fans of rock via the garage were treated to a night of the genre done right with this triple-header at Casbah. First up was one of the local bands of the moment, Shady Francos. The three-piece blazed through the most manic set of the night. Singer/guitarist Josh Kmak plays a telecaster planted near his chest, and the raised position only adds to the charm of his crazed delivery. The band utilized a psychedelic lighting unit for this gig, and it created an intoxicating visual backdrop for their music.

The Kabbs has been a staple in the SD garage circuit for some time now. A couple of band members have been swapped out, but the root sound seems to have remained intact as Brian Clinebell’s howling vocals and Kyle Whatley’s clean, churning Stratocaster continue to anchor the songs. Whereas the Francos won over the audience with energy and visual flair, the Kabbs registered more sonic dynamics, delivering diverse songs and arrangements.

And then there was headliner Hanni El Khatib. The San Francisco–based artist, backed by a full-band, delivered an electric set that showed where garage rock can end up when able songwriters push its boundaries. It’s no surprise that Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys produced Khatib’s last two releases, as they reflect the sheen and diversity of the Keys’ most recent records. Khatib is raw live, eschewing studio sheen onstage, but the understated, glimmering “Moonlight” still killed it at Casbah on this evening. The house was packed, so at the end of his set Khatib relieved the pressure-cooker on the floor by inviting a collection of fans onstage to dance the evening to a close. There was, of course, no encore. Nothing tops a full-stage dance party.

  • Artist: Hanni El Khatib, the Kabbs, and Shady Francos
  • Venue: Casbah
  • Date: February 5
  • Seats: Floor

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