King Tuff & White Fence @ The Smell
What makes a good concert? Well, for me, a good show tends to be when Danny Glover’s line from Lethal Weapon: “I’m too old for this,” doesn’t come to mind.
Last weekend, I spent about three and a half hours at one of the few venues that cater to kids under the age of eighteen—The Smell. There, my friend and I waited for King Tuff and White Fence, respectively. Both bands play a type of psychedelic rock that is reminiscent of the sixties, more so White Fence than King Tuff, for the most part.
The night began with a set by the trio, Dunes. There was nothing interesting about this band, other than that the majority of their songs sound alike. The banter between songs was bland, the drummer took the reins but it would either fall short or be awkward, since the lead singer, a short-haired female playing guitar, would be quiet, stiff, and barely even smiling. I cannot begin to define their sound, probably because they had no real sound, other than the sound of three mates jamming, unable to play more than three chords.
The following performer was a one-man act, Volunteers Park. He, like the vocalist for Dunes, was stiff, barely moving to his own music, except to use his Moog. He played a ten-minute song, not too shabby, and danceable to, if you dig electronica.
Soon after this “performer,” the six-person band Crazy Band took the stage. I’m not sure why a band would have a saxophonist, if it cannot even be heard through the screaming of the vocalist and the chaos ensued by two guitarists, a bassist, and a drummer. Although I can’t say I liked them, the small venue’s patrons were in love with the discordant noise projected by the band. Moshers engulfed The Smell, and Glover’s line kept invading my mind as I quickly found a corner from where I’d be safe from being shoved, or stepped on.
After the fourteen or so one-minute songs played by the hardcore, cacophonous greats, White Fence took the stage. Although moshers began their painful ritual, nothing in this world could change my perception of the band. In part, I was disappointed by their unclean sound—the vox’s voice didn’t come through clearly—but his mad guitar skills along with his awkwardness are what make this band worthwhile seeing or at least listening to. The first time I listened to them, I thought they sounded a bit like Jefferson Airplane and The Beatles. When I saw them live, I couldn’t help but think that with better acoustics and better stage presence, they could inch themselves into the big venues. But that’s not the point; no band producing imitative work of the sixties is worthy of praise—it’s time to move on and create new sounds, and leave the sixties to the great bands that actually forged a path whence our current rock music stems.
The night ended with King Tuff’s performance, which was invaded by moshers. The best part was King Tuff’s weird facial expressions, as well as his danceable music, and his indefatigability to stand on one foot whilst playing guitar. Overall, Tuff stepped up to the plate leaving us with a great performance and an urge to never stop dancing, even if I did have to go to the back of the venue to hide from the aggressive teenage moshers.