Two musicians turning a corner share this bill. Info/tix
Both musicians playing this show are deep into some mid-career rebranding. After years of churning out great-to-decent garage rock, opener King Tuff has shifted gears to try to convince us he’s, like, totally deep. On 2018's The Other, he flattens out his once raucous rock with a psychedelic-blues sheen. There's some interesting songwriting and evidence Kyle Thomas, a.k.a. King Tuff, is legitimately challenging himself to branch out and grow, especially when he gets legitimately funky on “Psycho Star,” but then he tries to blow people’s minds by quipping in it “The universe is probably an illusion," and then has the audacity to make that the chorus. Masterfully adept and most at home in lo-fi soundscapes and production, Thomas here is working with a more ambitious and fuller sound. Still, he hasn’t given us anything as genuine and tight as the stuttering, unstoppable caterwaul of “Sun Medallion,” from 2007’s Was Dead.
Meanwhile, former Fleet Foxes drummer Josh Tillman, a.k.a. Father John Misty, has been mellowing out. His 2018 album God’s Favorite Customer suggests that might be due to a newfound confidence: The record came out without much prior media hype, and it is his strongest to date. The album kicks off with “Hangout At The Gallows,” which starts as an understated lament before swelling into asking: “What’s your politics? What’s your religion?” These questions, although repeated again and again over five minutes while over pretty and then menacing strings, also suggest Tillman is still tweaking his image and approach to performing: Live reviews have noted that Tillman no longer goes on rants about politics (which are actually reasonably lucid by today's standards), and his once notorious stage banter has receded. Father John Misty has achieved a lush, contemporary sound with a huge backing band and complete with his caustic wit he now gives off the aura of a sarcastic version of The National. Which, by the way, is actually way more interesting than The National. —Reid Kurkerewicz