Canadian Music Week: King Tuff at Lee’s Palace

With a broad mix of garage rock from at home and abroad, Thursday night’s lineup at Lee’s Palace promised an evening of raw crunchy power pop that sent many a Canadian bottle flying off the edge of tables. Brews Willis opened the evening with a rowdy set of raucous but melodic feel good jams. Their use of vocal harmonies and hard rock rhythms seemed to channel some early 90’s Halifax bands but filtered through contemporary garage rock, less mollusk more mucous. They made excellent use of that woefully underutilized guitar pedal, the phaser that I appreciated. The Dead Ships from LA followed, possessing some crazy vocals, they drew on some bluesy and gritty influences and had some love for Toronto having just recorded an album with Brendan Canning.

Source: Roy Cohen

Twin Peaks Source: Roy Cohen

Little Me Little You from Saint John, New Brunswick brought a welcome dose of dissonance to the nights proceedings, stop start dynamics and a musical palette that seemed to draw on noise rock, college rock, hardcore and all points in-between. At one point the bass player chose to play with a half-empty bottle of Canadian kicking up a squall of twisted noise. Chicago’s Twin Peaks while playfully taunting the audience (“can we get some more of the audience in the monitors? Cos’ you guys are fucking weak”) also rocked the hell out and got the crowd reluctantly moving. Majors props to the guitarist for the best guitar face I’ve ever seen, something like Norman Bates meets David Byrne with some seriously spastic and unnatural dance moves to boot. Pumping out some energetic takes on 60s garage and guitar pop, Twin Peaks threw down a good old fashioned rave up complete with a keyboardist who elected to use his head instead of his hands.

Source Roy Cohen

Little Me Little You Source Roy Cohen

King Tuff stormed onstage to a chorus of applause, greeting the audience with a keen “ How the fuck are ya!”. Bassist Magic Jake showed some tongue in cheek appreciation for our home and native land with a miniature Canadian flag stuck between the tuning pegs of his bass. Beginning with “Madness” King Tuff plowed through much of their latest release 2014’s Black Moon Spell. Older material from 2012’s self-titled album created mass singalongs such as during “Bad Thing” or “Sun Medallion”. The only breather taken was during “Staircase of Diamonds”, a power ballad of sorts that got some 8th grade prom slow dancing going on in the otherwise heated mosh pit. Closing with “Anthem”, the refrain of “Sing the anthem to the underworld” was no command, as everyone was singing along anyways. Embodying all the fuzzy fun of their albums, King Tuff left the audience screaming for more. As Ash from the Evil Dead once said, “Hail to the King baby”.

Source: Roy Cohen

King Tuff Source: Roy Cohen

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