King Tuff Brings Everyone Together at Turf Club Show

I took a couple of Yiddish classes when I was growing up. I remember going to these classes and only leaving with the curse words that I could get out of the teacher. Well, those words and the word “tchotchke”. I don’t know why but tchotchke is one of my favorite words. If you don’t know the word, it’s basically a trinket. You know, a thing you have lying around your house that has no purpose other than to clutter up your shelves. I love tchotchkes in general and I love the sound of the word. Why does any of this matter? The opening act for the show at The Turf Club on Saturday night was a band called Tchochkte so, naturally, I just had to see what they were all about. I don’t know what I was expecting from a band named Tchotchke but what this trio gave me during their quick opening set on Saturday was not it. It was honestly a bit of a deceptive name. Deep down I thought I was going to get a slight sense of chaos surrounded by beauty but Tchotchke gave me straight-up beautiful sounds and vibes. This trio of Anastasia Sanchez, Eva Chambers, and Emily Tooraen has an incredible sense of power in their songs but in an unexpected way. For me, it was all about the vocals here. Don’t get me wrong, the three women were killing it on the respective instruments but the moments when all three of them were singing instantly gave me chills. Drummer Anastasia Sanchez supplies the vocals through the majority of the set which is something that has always caught me. Being a drummer is already a task and seeing a drummer that can do that and sing exquisitely is a rare thing but Anastasia nailed it with a sense of ease. There were times when her voice sounded like a mythical siren and others when it felt like it would fit in perfectly with any indie-pop band. Her range was absolutely stunning and the smoothness of which she had when hitting the highest of high notes left me completely floored. Tchotchke’s set felt short and the audience was still growing as they started hauling their gear off the stage and making room for the headlining act, King Tuff. I pity those who didn’t get there in time to see Tchotchke perform but loved the atmosphere that had begun to swirl throughout The Turf Club. It was an excited crowd but also a calm one. People were just sauntering around and saying their hellos while patiently waiting at the bar for their drinks. I may not have known what I was getting into for the night but it was clear that everyone else had been waiting for this for some time and, as headliner King Tuff took the stage, I understood why. King Tuff is one of those underground legend types. He is signed to Sub Pop Records, is the lead vocalist for Witch, and is a member of Ty Segall’s backing band, The Muggers. Kyle Thomas (aka King Tuff) released his debut album ‘Was Dead’ back in 2008 and I feel like he has been grinding hard ever since. King Tuff is one of those names that I have seen countless times on flyers and calendars throughout the Twin Cities over the years. It’s not that I wasn’t intrigued by it but I just never took the time to go out to one of his shows because I had no clue what it was but that changed on Saturday night and I thank the Concert gods for pointing me in the direction of this show. King Tuff’s sound is all over the place. Although it’s mostly situated in the garage rock scene, there were moments throughout his lengthy set on Saturday night that had a more psychedelic vibe and others that had a hint of stoner doom to them. As I said, all over the place, but the one constant was his brilliant lyrics. Within the first couple of songs, I just couldn’t shake the comparison between King Tuff and Pedro the Lion. I know this is a weird one but I feel like the artistry of words that both of these men present are fairly comparable in, again, a very weird way. Long story short, I was completely enamored by the vocals throughout King Tuff’s set and found myself combing through the phrases and words I could hear trying to find stand-out lines so I could tell you what songs I really liked. That didn’t work out well and, regardless of how hard I tried to focus, I found myself constantly forgetting what I had just heard because I didn’t want to peel my attention away to make a note of it. That was another magical aspect of King Tuff’s set on Saturday night. It wasn’t in your face and was far from aggressive yet somehow he and the rest of his amazing band had me stuck in the palm of his hand when I wasn’t trying to get a read on the audience. Trying to figure out the audience was impossible. From kids who look like they would enjoy a metal show to a few people who seemed like they would be most comfortable at a Dungeons & Dragons tournament to some that clearly have spent some time at EDM festivals– this crowd was all over the place and I loved it. King Tuff has somehow bridged so many scenes and styles without making a point of doing so. I love bands that try to jump genres and melt scenes together but I feel like you can always see it coming or see how they did it. That’s not the case with King Tuff– it has just happened organically because, well, his music is organic. I walked into The Turf Club on Saturday because I saw the word Tchotchke on a flyer. It ended up being my best leap of faith in a long while.