It’s not that the sun hates Portland, OR. It’s just… a little negligent. Even after the summer solstice, when the rest of the country bakes in warmer climes, it’s not uncommon to find us still cursing overcast skies (see: this). So if we ever needed some irreverent stoner rock to boost our spirits and fuel our boozy BBQs, it’s now-ish. Enter King Tuff—one part guitarist Kyle Thomas, bassist Magic Jake, drummer Tommy Tom Toms and guitarist Mr. California.
For most bands, Monday is one of the worst nights of the week to play a show—unless you’re King Tuff, apparently. From the back bar to the front of the stage at the Doug Fir, people were elbow to elbow as the group opened with “Anthem” and “Keep On Moving”, two '70s era burners from their latest Sub Pop offering: the aptly titled King Tuff. The band put the pedal to the metal and their energy was the perfect fuel that the tightly packed crowd needed to get it going, especially on a Monday.This isn’t Thomas’ first go round with mangy garage pop. Having been a contributing shredder in bands like Witch and Happy Birthday, Thomas is well versed in the fuzzier licks piecing together the beat up muscle car that is now the group known as King Tuff. And it suits him. Dressed in a snap-back Philadelphia Flyers cap and black jersey (#69, of course), Thomas and his gaggle of miscreants seemed to be having as much fun as the kids head banging in the front row.
“Can you turn the disco ball on?” Thomas asked midway through the set, pointing to the disco ball hanging above the crowd. “Yeah, just turn it on and leave that shit on. Now we’re partying.” He was right. As soon as the ball was illuminated and the band ripped into another track, a mosh pit opened at the front of the stage and people began hurling themselves into a crowd surfing circuit.
Maybe it was the awesomely indulgent guitar solos, Thomas’ taunting vocal contortions, “Bad Thing,” or just the smell of weed smoke slowly, yet spiritedly drifting over the crowd, but I swear, by the end of the night, there were swimming pools, PBR and sunshine as far as the eye could see. And that isn't a bad thing to say the least.
Check out King Tuff on tour:
July 28 Soda Bar, San Diego CA w/Jaill
August 3 Fernwood Roadhouse, Big Sur CA
August 19 Meat Market, Tempe AZ W/ Audacity & Otro Mundo
August 20 Launch Pad, Albuquerque NM W/ Audacity
August 22 Opolis, Norman OK w/ Audacity
August 23 J.R.'s Lightbulb Co., Fayetteville AR w/ Audacity
August 24 Highlife Martini Lounge, Springfield MO w/ Audacity
August 25 LouFest, St. Louis MO
August 26 Replay Lounge, Lawrence KS w/ Nu Sensae
August 28 Moe's (CO), Denver CO w/ Audacity & School Knights
August 29 Kilby Court, Salt Lake City UT w/ Audacity
August 30 Beauty Bar, Las Vegas NV w/ Audacity
September 11 Shacklewell Arms, London United Kingdom
September 12 Effenaar, Eindhoven Netherlands
September 13 Vera, Groningen Netherlands
September 14 De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam Netherlands
September 15 Leffingeleuren Festival, Leffinge Belgium
September 17 Trix, Antwerp Belgium co-headline with The Men
September 18 Point Ephemere, Paris France
September 20 Stock Club, Basel Switzerland
September 21 Swamp Club, Freiburg Germany
September 22 Reeperbahn Festival , Hamburg Germany
September 23 Monarch, Berlin Germany
September 24 Tsunami, Cologne Germany
September 26 Lexington, London United Kingdom
Photos by Mateo Mengis