King Tuff

Cosmic space horn? Check. Crowdsurfing panda? Check. King Tuff bringing an incredible new live show to the Casbah? Check, check, and check.

Brooklyn-based project Cut Worms warmed up the sold out Thursday night. The trio quietly began their set, which brimmed with 60’s pop gems. With a focus on their debut album, Hollow Ground, “Till Tomorrow Comes Today” stood out as a great example of the band’s subtle ability to infuse catchy melodies into the listener’s mind. By the end of their set, Cut Worms mentioned they had one song left, maybe two. The response was immediate, and the crowd cheered for two more.

With what looked like a suit tailor made for Beetlejuice himself, King Tuff and his wonderfully diverse group of talented band mates walked out to the gentle tones of wind chimes. As the chimes slowly faded into the background, the soft, warm, and fuzzy interplay of analog synthesizers and Wurlitzer pianos announced the title track of the new album, “The Other,” a deeply personal, universal song about the pursuit of a meaningful life. Its potency resonated with the captivated crowd.

It was clear King Tuff had a new creative direction in mind, his sound palette having opened up to broader genres like Americana, folk, and even some Motown. This is not to say, however, that he shied away from playing some of his wilder songs, like “Black Moon Spell”. In fact, by the time King Tuff introduced his cosmic space horn, local hero and mascot of ListenSD, That Fucking Panda, made a crowd-surfing appearance.

Since this was the first show of an extensive tour supporting The Other, King Tuff let San Diego know how grateful he was to play back in San Diego, endearingly calling the crowd “rascals and hooligans.” Ending on “Bad Thing,” the crowd was left to wonder when a Thursday this fun will come around again.

Photos by: Ciara Rzeslawski
Review by: Max Sanchez