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Rock the Vote: Beastie Boys and Tenacious D at the Fillmore

Rock the Vote: The Beastie Boys and Tenacious D November 3, 2008 Fillmore Better than: Any other reason to miss Monday Night Football

In case you haven’t heard, there’s an election today. Rock the Vote brought Tenacious D and the Beastie Boys to Denver to remind young voters of that inescapable fact, just in case they’d just awakened from some sort of coma or had been sequestered for months trying to get 100 percent completion on Grand Theft Auto IV. And if the turnout for the show is representative of the actual voter turnout, Denver youth will, indeed, rock the vote today.

Tenacious D kicked the night off in fine fashion. The set focused heavily on material from the duo’s debut album, including favorites such as “Fuck Her Gently,” “Kielbasa,” “Wonderboy” and “Tribute.” Fittingly, they also dropped the relatively topical tunes “City Hall” and “The Government Totally Sucks.” The performance was exactly what fans of their TV show would expect: two guys playing hilarious mock metal on acoustic guitars.

Jack Black livened things up with a solo on a toy saxophone of some sort, and the between song patter was as funny as you’d expect from him. He made the obligatory “wow, what’s with the altitude” comment and also noted that Denver crowds smoked a lot of weed. He wasn’t kidding, either – whether this crowd ends up rocking the vote or not, they certainly rocked the shit out of the ganja. There weren’t many surprises, and it’s doubtful they changed anyone’s mind about the act: either you love the D and enjoyed the set, or you don’t and this didn’t change your mind. The one big surprise was ending the set with a tasty selection from the Beatles Abbey Road, that was both funny and surprisingly spot on.

After a short break, Mixmaster Mike took the stage to warm the crowd up for the Beasties. He did some nice turntable work, juggling some very jungle sounding beats before the venerable Beasties joined him. From the second they took the stage, the crowd was amped – lots of people hopping up and down, dancing into their neighbors and generally getting nutty.

Despite the fact they’ve been around for roughly twenty years, the venerable trio of brat-punk rap stars was energetic, engaged and seemingly excited about the music. They played a nice mix of early and later stuff. Some highlights included “Root Down,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “Intergalactic,” which I enjoyed considerably more than the last time I heard it, when remixes of it were mandatory for months after it was released.

On the other hand, several tunes, especially their “So Watcha Want” felt stiff and awkward. Still, they kept things interesting by mixing it up considerably from what’s on the albums, and Mixmaster Mike’s DJ work was impressive. To end the set, they busted out the instruments (to that point it had been all DJ/MC material) and were joined by Tenacious D for a bizarre, nearly incoherent “Time For Livin’,” then sent the D off and closed with a clumsy “Sabotage” that was nonetheless quite a crowd pleaser.

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Critic’s Notebook Personal Bias: I was a big fan of both these acts in their times, but honestly, kind of feel those times have passed. Random Detail: I saw a dizzying array of impressive facial hair, from a grotty-ass neckbeard to meticulously sculpted beard with swooshes shaved into either side. By the Way: I rocked my vote last Tuesday (go early voting!) but you should rock yours today if you haven’t already. Seriously.

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