King Tuff both began and ended The Infinite Smiles tour supporting his latest album The Other at the Casbah here in America’s finest city.
The Other, released last year in April, might seem like a departure from his signature indie garage-punk sound, with its slower ballads and synth infused disco beats, but surprisingly, they didn’t play a single quiet song Saturday night.
Tuff, immediately recognizable in his magician’s cape and bedazzled hat, joined his all-female band on stage to start off the night with “Black Moon Spell.” The crowd was drowned out all night by the crushing fuzz and distortion, despite their desperate attempts to compete with it. However, with the volume so high in such a small space, the instruments and vocals were easily muddied and hard to make out at times. This didn’t stop the band or the crowd from rocking as hard as they could to classics off previous records like “Anthem” and “Eyes of the Muse,” both met with howls of excitement and dancing. Since it was their second night at the Casbah, King Tuff comically told the crowd that he was terrible at tuning his guitar, which is why they had stopped performing the song “I Love You Ugly” live, but that we deserved it since we looked “especially ugly.”
The band arrangement didn’t change for songs they played off of The Other. For example, the recorded track for “Neverending Sunshine” sports a synth melody and a bass heavy beat. However, when they played the track live Saturday night, they didn’t have a synth/piano player on stage; the lead guitar played the melody and the bass was hardly audible over Tuff’s distorted rhythm guitar. For songs like “Ultraviolet” and “Circuits in the Sand,” this arrangement worked, but songs like “Psycho Star” were almost unrecognizable.
Those that went to the Casbah Saturday night hoping to catch some psychedelic-disco-funk magic might have left wanting; but those that went for a garage-punk rock show in its purity were not disappointed by King Tuff’s rousing performance.