Concert review: Jack Black's Tenacious D gig a tribute to rock

Jack Black (right) and Kyle Gass (left) make up comedyrock duo, Tenacious D. -- PHOTO: FOREFRONT ASIA
Jack Black (right) and Kyle Gass (left) make up comedyrock duo, Tenacious D. -- PHOTO: FOREFRONT ASIA

Review: Concert

THE GATHERING WITH TENACIOUS D  - LIVE IN SINGAPORE!

The Coliseum/Tuesday

In School Of Rock, Jack Black played a failed musician who turns a class of straight-laced students into a bona fide rock band. At his debut gig in Singapore as one-half of comedy rock Tenacious D, he proved that he could play the role of rock rabble-rouser to perfection in real life too.

Ignore the normcore and decidedly unglamorous get-up of oversized T-shirt and jeans, the rotund pair of Black and fellow singer-guitarist and music partner Kyle Gass mixed a potent formula of the best of rock's heyday from the 1960s to the 1980s.

Strip the tunes of their juvenile humour and their music is a loving tribute to rock's best incarnations during those decades.

Multi-part tunes such as show-opener Tribute, an ode to "the best song in the world" from their 2001 eponymous debut album, and Rize Of The Fenix, the title track from their most recent work released in 2012, take the cue from Led Zeppelin, The Who and Queen's elaborate works.

They have a lot of love for classic heavy metal, so there were a lot of chugging power chords and double-bass drums galore in songs like The Metal and Dio, based on late metal icon Ronnie James Dio.

The fact that both play acoustic guitars did not dampen their heaviness. The mellow plucked riffs chimed with clarity but the buzzing of the strings showed how hard the pair strummed during the frenzied parts.

Their three-piece backing band also deserved special mention for being talented and flexible enough to switch between genres with ease throughout the 85-minute show.

The humour was lowbrow and juvenile. But an all-out, honest-to-gosh rock show does not really need sophistication so there were plenty of frat-boy humour and crude references to sex in the tunes Low Hangin' Fruit and F*** Her Gently.

They did a parody of jazz music, Simply Jazz, with Gass playing the recorder and Black spouting lines such as "There are no wrong notes on jazz" and "We do not understand the jazz".

Surprisingly, Black kept in-between song banter to a minimum. There was not much ad-libbing but there were plenty of well-rehearsed mini-skits.

Three songs in, he and Gass had a mock falling-out on stage and the latter pretended to "quit" the band and walked off, leaving Black crying. It turned out to be a lead-up to Dude (I Totally Miss You) from the soundtrack of their 2006 film Tenacious D in The Pick Of Destiny as the pair make up and hug at the end of the tune.

Like many of the characters he plays in his films, Black was frenzied, hyperactive and did a lot of wide-eyed gesticulations as he performed.

He did not have to do much acting to convince the audience that his love for rock is truly genuine.