On the record: Kyle Gass Band, Thundering Herd 

(at Monk’s Wed., Dec. 7, at 9 PM.)

You might know Kyle Gass as a clueless kids’ book writer in Elf, or as Jack Black’s guitar-wielding partner in Tenacious D. But his real passion comes forth in Kyle Gass Band’s overwrought goofball rock. On the heavier songs, there’s nary a metal cliché left unturned. “You thought evil was a sandwich,” wails Gass in “Hell or High,” which sounds a lot like Soundgarden circa Superunknown, and “Mamas Mia” thumps like a fist pounding the bar in a seedy dive.
click to enlarge noise_kylegass.jpg

KGB plays with confident authority, and their stylistic agility covers a lot of ground. “Bone” has a funky, greasy groove and great soul organ. “Uncle Jazz” is the silky epitome of AOR ear candy with its Stevie Wonder-style harmonica, pearly electric piano and busy bass line.

“Gypsy Scroll II Toot of the Valley” puts KGB right into their sweet spot. It’s D&D fantasy quasi-metal of the Dio ilk, with plenty of harmony guitar lines, power chords and my-codpiece-is-too-tight caterwauling over weird time signatures. The fife solo and spoken-word section leave no doubt as to the silliness of the song’s premise.

As any Weird Al fan will tell you, if the musicianship ain’t there, the parody won’t sell. The lyrics here aren’t particularly clever or subtle, but fans of Tenacious D should thoroughly enjoy the ride.

Kyle Gass Band plays Monk’s Wed., Dec. 7, at 9 PM. $15/$10 advance.

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The original print version of this article was headlined "On the Record: Kyle Gass Band, Thundering Herd"

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