Tenacious D have always been a band that have faced a tremendous uphill struggle. Infusing music and comedy is by no means an easy task and many bands have fallen by the wayside attempting to balance humour which is legitimately and consistently funny, with music that is… well… good. The acts that have achieved this fate are in the minority. However, bands that have been successful in this field have cleverly developed and amalgamated their humour and sound into a level of maturity that stays fun but ultimately offers something new. The pioneers of this were The Beastie Boys and when Tenacious D entered the stage in front of an inflatable, phallic phoenix I was reminded of the controversial backdrop from the aforementioned rap group’s Licensed to Ill tour. Despite this, there wasn’t an ounce of outrage in the house. It seems as though times have changed.
The venue was by no means packed and the crowd was of a very interesting demographic. The first time I saw Tenacious D it was in the midst of their first album. On this occasion the bar was dry and the average age was probably around 14. This was what I naively expected from the evening’s gig and as I shuffled into the venue, which boasted Westlife’s up and coming tour on all four corners of the building, I was pleasantly surprised. It became apparent that Tenacious D’s following were mid 20’s nostalgic rock fans clinging onto the success and glory of their self-titled first album. This was truly hammered home half way through their two hour set when from the back of the room came the call ‘stop playing all of this new shit.’
The gig had started slowly. The band played track after track from the most recent album “The Rize of The Pheonix” and as much as I appreciate a band trying to diversify and move on from early successes, it is just not a very good record. What is bold about the new material is that it confronts the mishap that was “The Pick of Destiny”. However, what has become problematic for the dynamic duo is that the tracks that were played from their most recent offering are not a lot better. Tenacious D have taken a risk in confronting their previous failings and it has not paid off. Nevertheless, to use the tired footballing expression; it was a game of two halves.
Almost instantly after the tattooed drunk heckler had expressed his opinion, Tenacious D came to life. It was clear that the pair enjoyed playing their sing-along anthems such as ‘Kielbasa’, ‘Tribute’ and ‘Rock Your Socks’ a lot more than their weary yawn-evoking new material. The comedic chemistry between Jack and Kyle suddenly ignited and the audience was treated to a brilliantly crafted show. The highlight of the evening was the groups rendition of The Beatles’ ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ which showed the bands’ technical skill and appreciation of their personal influences.
As I left The SECC with ‘Fuck Her Gently’ still ringing in my ears, I was conflicted. On one hand I had enjoyed the show and had been treated to at times a musically breathtaking event, mainly thanks to the flawless backing band. However, it was sad to see a band attempting to progress but falling short. Tenacious D will never do what The Beastie Boys did and achieve critical acclaim whilst evoking elements of comedy. It is fair to say that The D are not ‘The greatest band in the world’ as Jack humorously boasts, but a band with an incredible first album that will always have a place in all rock and metal fans’ hearts.