I was absolutely in a haze as I made my way to Surly Festival Field on Monday evening. I had just gotten back from Riot Fest in Chicago with just enough time to shower and take a quick nap but it wasn’t enough to recover from the long, stressful, tiring, and amazing weekend. That didn’t matter. I grabbed yet another energy drink and weaved through traffic and got to Surly just in time to snag literally the last parking spot before the lot was full and made my way to the grounds for what was sure to be an amazing show. Why was I doing this to myself? Pushing my body to the limits as far as exhaustion goes? Tenacious D was in town and I definitely wasn’t going to miss this.
DJ Douggpound was the only opening act on the Monday night show. He brought with him a distinct mix of DJ and comedian which, although super fun initially, started to fall a bit short. It was a constant stream of jokes that, the majority of the time, fell short, mixed with electronic beats and remixes. Although some of the songs were funny like when he remixed the ice cream truck song to cater to youths of today, I felt like his set was a bit too all over the place and I found it hard to concentrate on it. Some of that could have been pure exhaustion, but I feel like others in the audience weren’t quite picking up on what DJ Douggpound was doing. There were multiple times throughout his forty-minute set where the audience would go from cheering to booing in the blink of an eye. The jokes became raunchier and raunchier as the time went on and there were definitely a few that had me cringing but, all in all, DJ Douggpound was a solid choice as an opener for the almighty D.
You know who Tenacious D is or, at least, you know one of the members. Tenacious D is a comedy rock duo from California fronted by Kyle Gass and Jack Black (yes, that Jack Black– the actor). I have had the honor of seeing Tenacious D a few times in the past and that’s how I knew I just couldn’t pass up on this show regardless of how tired I was. The anticipation in the air was palpable and as the clock ticked passed the 8 PM start time and I started noticing lightning happening around us, I got a little nervous. I couldn’t tell if it was storm lightning or heat lightning but the delay in the show mixed with that visual had me super nervous that the show may not happen. That’s when the cheering started to get louder and the backing band came out on stage and picked up their instruments. Before long, Kyle Gass and Jack Black took the stage and honestly, what happened next was a bit of a blur for me due to a mix of excitement and the haze I was in.
Tenacious D’s set on Monday was seriously perfect. It’s not that their set is ever disappointing but I felt like their song choice on Monday was just absolutely flawless. From songs off of their “new” album Post-Apocalypto (which came out back in 2018 but is their most recent release) to some bangers off of their 2001 self-titled album, there wasn’t a track that the rest of the audience and I weren’t singing along to while dancing like fools because, well, that’s just what you do to Tenacious D. Their songs are funny but also are not lacking an undeniable sense of vocal and instrumental talent. From both Kyle and Jack’s guitar playing to Jack’s distinct vocals that are somehow both campy and flawless at the same time, everything sounded recording-quality to me and I don’t know that you would be able to find someone who was in the audience to fight me on that.
The band definitely does the same schtick every time I see them. From Kyle “quitting the band” to the giant “robot” that comes out during “The Metal”, it’s familiar but that doesn’t stop the audience from playing into the act. It’s kind of like when your dad says the same joke over and over again and you laugh every time. It’s not that you feel obligated or anything, more that it is just fun and you want to acknowledge that by laughing even though you know every single punchline. Add the hilarious banter between Kyle and Jack and you are left with a show that will have your cheeks hurting from smiling which is what happened to me. The night started with my legs being in pain just from all of the walking I had done over the weekend but, by the end of it, it was my face that hurt the most but it was a good kind of hurt.
There really weren’t any surprises from Tenacious D on Monday night. They played the hits, Jack played his Sax-a-Boom (if you don’t know, the saxaboom is just a kids saxophone that Jack toots on for a whole song), Kyle left the band, and they ended with their hit song “Fuck Her Gently”. I guess the only thing that felt a bit different was their flawless cover of “Good Times Bad Times” from Led Zeppelin which is what they kicked off their two-song encore with. I wasn’t surprised that it was good but I just don’t recall ever seeing Tenacious D do a cover before.
Would my Monday had been better spent unpacking, sleeping, and eating something other than pizza while chugging gallons on gallons of ice water to counteract the dehydration? Oh, absolutely but, (sorry mom and dad) the concert Gods had a different plan for me and I regret nothing.