The Coronation of King Tuff

June 3rd, 2013

King Tuff – The Bowery Ballroom – June 2, 2013

Rock music in its current state seems to be missing something. It’s hard to say exactly what that is, but sometimes seeing a band with an abundance of it makes its absence in everything else far more noticeable. There aren’t many groups out there as unabashedly fun as King Tuff, and that may be a big part of what’s missing in every other new rock band popping up these days. The person I brought along with me to their show last night at The Bowery Ballroom was convinced that King Tuff were actually a group of celebrities disguised as a scruffy rock band.

To be fair, their drummer did look like Paul Rudd trying to hide behind a mustache. The bassist was somewhere between Matthew McConaughey, dressed up as Wooderson from the ’90s cult classic Dazed and Confused, and Owen Wilson. And while I’m not writing off the possibility, a lot of this probably had to do with King Tuff’s onstage confidence. They actually aren’t disguised A-list celebrities, but they carry themselves like they are. And as they plowed through favorites like “Alone & Stoned,” “Keep on Movin’” and “Anthem,” their own self-assuredness took the entire venue along for the ride.

King Tuff pump out about as much sound as is possible for a three-piece, in part due to some fantastic drumming from the Paul Rudd lookalike—“Old Gary”—filling in voids with drum fills whenever possible. By the time the trio got to their final song, “Bad Thing,” there wasn’t a single person in the place buried in his cell phone or standing idly with her arms crossed. With the band thrashing around onstage, tossing around their grungy hair, the audience seemed collectively in much the same mindset. It didn’t feel like an encore was planned, but the crowd demanded one anyway, getting “Animal,” from King Tuff’s debut album, the recently reissued Was Dead. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Andie Diemer |