Heading to Saturday’s Tenacious D show at the House of Blues, I remarked to my buddy Dave that I wasn’t very familiar with the Jack Black-Kyle Gass mock rock project’s material outside of “Tribute,” “Kickapoo” and a “Tommy” medley from the band’s recent tours that I stumbled upon on YouTube. I never saw their HBO show and I haven’t seen their feature film, “The Pick of Destiny.”
Alas, there was no Tommy medley (but a short Beatles mash-up) – as this was not the full rock-band version of The D, but a stripped down affair with simply Gass and Black (yes, THAT Jack Black, the comedic actor) and acoustic guitars.
So, two fat guys with acoustic guitars can fill the beach’s most-prominent concert venue? That somehow boosts my self-esteem.
Black has gone in and out of being in shape depending upon his movie roles, but he looked like maybe he’d been on a doughnut bender again, and Gass, well, he looks like he doesn’t give a fuck and just rolled out of bed and put on some sweat pants and a dirty T-shirt. More power to him.
I must admit that I’m not a big fan of the unplugged format in a big concert hall setting – acoustic sets within a show are OK – and intimate acoustic shows at small listener-friendly settings are enjoyable if the audiences are respectful.
I just like to rock out when I’m going to a concert – that’s what I enjoy - a full ensemble interplay, and I like to watch what the musicians are playing to see if I can steal any licks.
That being said, Tenacious D as an acoustic duo is as energetic and entertaining as any plugged-in rock act. That’s because Black is a manic-motormouth and Gass a furious strumming machine and they kept the action flowing, with not much of a lull, beginning with the show-opening "Rize of the Fenix," the title track of their latest album.
I know it was staged and part of their shtick, but I did enjoy when Gass got mad at Black and left the stage, leaving him to perform “Dude (I Totally Miss You”) from 2006's “The Pick of Destiny” soundtrack, at the end of which Gass came back on stage and finished out the song – and the two embraced and made-up under the spotlights.
There was also a hilarious bit where Black played what looked like an electronic toy saxophone and Gass busted out some comical faux hip-hop dance moves, which got the crowd going.
We got there early and there was a short line to get in, but we headed over to The Gator Bar in the HOB restaurant to meet up with Surge music writer Paul Grimshaw. We came back outside after spending some time at the bar, and decided to go back to the bar as the line mushroomed - we waited until it got close to the announced show time and the line had dwindled and was moving briskly.
With the steep-for-this-market ticket prices of $50, $90 and $100 I wasn’t sure what the size of the crowd for this gig was going to be, despite Black’s star appeal and Tenacious D’s cult following.
Here’s a comment from reader Rick Wainwright posted on our Web site that sums it up nicely: “I love Tenacious D, but I am not going to pay $50 to stand up at HOB to see them. I can see a real band for that price and have an assigned seat.”
Full disclosure, I got into the show on a media pass, a practice I only partake in if I’m going to be writing about said event (which I am right now), so I’m not sure if I would have forked over $50 for this show, although I would have hated to miss it – it was most certainly the place to be Saturday night along the Grand Strand.
But I had no special privliges, no opera box accesss, etc. – I pushed and shoved with the masses trying to get a better view – a constant battle for someone who is 5-foot-7 – but it seems there were several of us short guys in the spot where I chose to congregate, and we commiserated. Me and another vertically-challenged fellah decided we were going to start a business selling little step-stools outside of the venue and we could target the other short guys. I’m sure the venue would like that, an army of short guys bringing their own step-stools.
All in all, Tenacious D accomplished its mission of rocking the Myrtle Beach market, and they seemed duly impressed by the enthusiasm of the audience, perhaps not knowing what to expect since – according to our cover story last week – neither dude had ever set foot on our sandy shores.
I know I’m going to sound all curmudgeony, and I knew I was going to see this since Black has starred in a few kid-friendly flicks including “School of Rock” and a cameo in “The Muppets,” – even my five-year-old knows who he is – but sure enough, there were children at this R-rated show.
Yep, one such individual carried his kiddo on his shoulders sporting a Tenacious D T-shirt up the steps in front of me, a mere minutes after the band performed the fan-favorite “Fuck Her Gently.”
Moving right along, we’re in the second week of working out the kinks on our new Web site, and feeding the machine because content is updated constantly on the site, so make sure you check back early and often at www.weeklysurge.com – we’ve added entertainment-related wire stories from around the nation, so there’s now a mix of our local-centric original stuff with national lifestyle trends and breaking news.
In addition, we’ve got a stellar lineup hitting our print edition this week, and before that for you e-heads out there who like to check our site before the physical copies are in racks. Our resident libations expert, Colin “The Beerman” Burch has gone on a quest to assemble the perfect Irish brew 12-pack that you can find right here on the Grand Strand as you gear up for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities (it’s Sunday, in case you didn’t know but several parties are set for the entire weekend); and we’ve also got new editions of A Gay in the Life, Living Green, Working for a Living and An Open & Shut Case (which will include info on some local St. Paddy’s Day meal deals).
Oh yes, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Surge’s latest online contest. You don’t have to wait until the NCAA basketball pairings come out to test your bracketology. We’ve got our own twist on March Madness, as you can enter our Pick-the-Pope contest – the Road to St. Peter’s – by following this link: http://myrtlebeachonline.upickem.net/upickem/registration/login.asp?contestid=85906.
Not participating would be a cardinal sin.