[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was Friday night, but the Sinclair stood still, probably a bit longer than it should have. The Cambridge rock club draped itself in a curtain of dim, blueish darkness, as its concert-going occupants awaited patiently for the tardy King Tuff to grace them with his presence.
Sometime after 11:30 p.m., the lights finally faded up into a fantastic infrared — so blinding that mystical qualities eluded themselves in the flare. Standing in the front, I looked over to my friend, trying to gauge a reaction but all I saw was the tri-chromatic theory of color take hold, inundating my pupils with a burning, yellow resonance. Paranoia and panic slightly creeped up my spine, as concern for my lack of vision and general sensation enveloped. However, as the lights got stronger, the energy of the crowd became delightfully tangible. Their excitement kissed my cheeks and extinguished the fear.
Vermont native Kyle Thomas, known on the ticket stub as King Tuff, walked on stage with his band of the same name, resembling a slightly hairier (and rounder) version of Mike Myers’ Wayne Campbell. Bassist “Magic Jake,” for all intents and purposes here, can assume the roll of Garth Algar, with his blonde, shaggy hair. The drummer, “Old Gary,” looked liked he had jumped right out Boogie Nights and landed, barefoot, onto the platform. Matching black tank-tops and what would appear to be some kind of a study on handlebar mustaches joined the aesthetic, as the band opened up with the title track off of their latest record Black Moon Spell. The audience participated in a self-conscious version of the “head bang,” while a small group of girls attempted to mosh pit, unsuccessfully.
From that point forward, the band performed most of their new album. Songs such as “Eyes of The Muse” and the appropriately titled “Headbanger” sent symphonic waves, ending in heavy metal bliss throughout the Sinclair and up it its balconies. Heads were bobbing, legs were rocking, and finally the band played their big hit, “Bad Thing,” and the audience came undone. The mere dream of a mosh pit from earlier was finally fulfilled, and my friend and I found ourselves swarmed, beer-in-hand, and eventually pushed up to the barrier of the stage. Our elbows rested at the foot of the band, and our smiles matched all the same. Boys attempted to crowd surf, only to be knocked down by the surprisingly fast-reflexed Sinclair security. Someone from back stage, however, did do a stage dive.
As the show began to wind down, the softer — perhaps more sensitive? — side of King Tuff came out. For all the band’s well-documented allusion to Satan, witches, and the “dark side,” the encore romp of “I Love You Ugly,” proved otherwise. Every girl in the audience blushed, even if just for a second, when no one was looking, on the inside.
King Tuff’s performance also maintained a well-executed string of epic guitar solos (tapping, unfortunately not included), a handful of toothy, ghoulish grins that mirrored Ozzy Osbourne’s own frightening mug, and a refreshing amount of sincerity.
Although King Tuff doesn’t attempt to do anything terribly outside-the-box on his latest record, the spirit of rock and roll is alive and kicking. No matter how long he makes us wait.