Wednesday, January 9, 2013

King Tuff / The Intelligence / Whatever Brains at the Duke Coffeehouse - 10/24/2012

King Tuff
with The Intelligence & Whatever Brains
Duke Coffeehouse

For some reason I have the hardest time getting myself to Duke Coffeehouse shows, most likely because if I don't buy advance tickets it can be real hard to motivate me off the couch, and as near as I can tell they never do advance tickets.  Even when I know a show won't sell out, it can be tough to convince my paranoid self that I'll get in for sure.  And nothing worse than driving to Durham or Chapel Hill and then getting turned around.

Luckily, this did not happen this evening.  I did get there a little late though, and only caught the last couple of songs by Whatever Brains.  Still, it fulfilled my requirement of seeing them at least once monthly.  They appear to be playing with two keyboard players now - the young dude is now back in the band (I think he left town for school or something?), and the older dude continues to be in the group, so now it's like a synth band covering Whatever Brains.  Or Whatever Brains creating new Emerson, Lake and Palmer tracks.  Not that I'm complaining, because like everything they do it's the greatest thing ever.  Whatever Brains 4 eva.

I'm not sure if A-Frames are just one of the greatest punk bands of all time, or one of the greatest any-genre bands of all time, but Lars Finberg of A-Frames is the driving force behind The Intelligence and that was all the reason I needed to make sure I saw all of their set.  I can't say I feel as strongly about them as I do the A-Frames, but they're still a damn fine band and with Lars in front the comparisons are obvious.  They also have a pretty strong garage-surf vibe, and that coupled with the gal laying heavy on the keys could dredge up a Quintron comparison as well.  After seeing Intelligence live I'm definitely inspired to dive into their records a little more.  And as an additional piece of information for the trivia minded, instead of keyboard stands the band used a couple of foldable walkers to hold up their gear...pretty damn smart actually, and much much cheaper. 

The closer was one of the new hot shit bands of the garage punk world, King Tuff.  The main dude behind the band, Kyle Thomas, gets around -  he plays in a number of bands but most famously Witch with J Mascis.  King Tuff is his high water mark in my opinion, and this was particularity highlighted with this year's self-titled record on Sub Pop - one of my favorite releases of 2012.  They fittingly get lumped in with the other garage-pop bands on the scene, but live I really saw a side of them accented that doesn't stand out as strongly on their records - the serious glam streak running through their jams.  Lots of "hot lixx" on the guitar from Thomas, and obvious influences from Slade, Mott the Hoople and even Kiss that really popped on this night.  As catchy as I find their most recent record, live somehow those same songs work even better.  Here's to the Tuffs making a return trip to our area very soon, cause I need more of this. 

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