Heavy Metal by Tenacious D: Taking Parody To a Higher Level

Kyle Gass, left, and Jack Black (seen in the film
Kyle Gass, left, and Jack Black (seen in the film "Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny") have real rock chops. (New Line Via Associated Press)
Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Parody is the sincerest form of flattery. No surprise, then, that the devil-sign-flashing hordes who (nearly) packed the Patriot Center on Sunday night to hail the return of Tenacious D acted as though they were at -- forgive me -- an "unironic" heavy-metal show.

But true entertainment needs no quotation marks, and all present witnessed a grand night of Spinal Tap-esque bombast. "The D," as they often call themselves, are Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Black's film roles (most notably in 2000's "High Fidelity") propelled him to stardom, but the D had built an audience prior to that, honing their act in Los Angeles clubs and on a short-lived HBO series. Brandishing acoustic guitars like broadswords and singing artfully profane tales of dragons slain and wenches ravished, they at once skewer and venerate the Iron Maidens and Judas Priests of the world.

The show's first half, set in Gass's "living room" (the men took the stage by crawling out from under a blanket on the couch), featured Black and Gass in their original acoustic-duo configuration. Soon enough, the D were electrified and sent to an endearingly low-budget version of hell, where they recruited an electric guitarist and a rhythm section, and then, yes, vanquished Satan himself in a "rock-off."

Both Black and Gass are better-than-good guitarists, and outside of the D's catalogue, the audience got bits of the Beatles' "And Your Bird Can Sing" and the Who's "Pinball Wizard," among other too-brief homages. It's worth noting that despite their sketch-comedy premise, the D somehow managed to stage a 110-minute show without overstaying their welcome. Maybe they really did make a deal with the devil.

-- Chris Klimek

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