TENACIOUS D with Sound of Urchin at the Kool Haus, January 24. Tickets: $20.50. Attendance: 2,200. Rating: NNN
going to a tenacious d show for the music is kinda like reading Playboy for the articles. There's nothing wrong with it, but you're missing the point. Nope, the D is all about spectacle -- not surprisingly, since the self-proclaimed "greatest band in the world" started out as a skit on the alterna-comedy circuit in L.A. almost a decade ago. Since then, the mock-rock team of movie yutz Jack Black and partner Kyle Gass have rapidly accumulated a huge and rabid fan base.
Thursday night's gig had to be moved from the cozy Guvernment to the cavernous Kool Haus to keep up with ticket demand. The licence plates in the lot were a testament to the caravan-inspiring draw of the D: Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania.
Black and Gass took the furor in stride. Standing in the spotlight sporting identically quizzical expressions, the dynamic duo kicked off their set with a duelling acoustic bit.
Mostly, their music is less than impressive, built on identical rock riffs, melodies and structures. The songs are pure parody, combining AC/DC theatrics with Eagles-style classic rock and sometimes scatological, usually nonsensical lyrics about rockstar topics like a Tenacious D threesome. But it's not all mockery; these cats rock out 'cause they love the music, dude.
Black's charisma drives the D. His comic timing is unique, and he tied the tunes together with fast-paced humour, challenging a fan upfront to a set of penis push-ups and obnoxiously trolling for "backstage Betties."
The short film that closed the set featured Black as a hustler giving a blow job to an unidentified client who turns out to be -- wait for it -- none other than Gass.
The mayonnaise money shot drew hysterical, if uncomfortable, guffaws and a lot of "Gross!" groans from the crowd. If you get the joke, it works. If not, Tenacious D is so much self-congratulatory Animal House antics.