The lights at the Bluebird Nightclub turned green, and smoke and energy emanated from the crowd Friday night, June 16, as Chicago-based cover band Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress took the stage.
“This is your wedding, Bloomington,” frontman Rod Tuffcurls said as his band opened its eighth show this year in Bloomington with “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne.
The band — whose members perform wearing 80s-inspired baseball tees and plain black running shorts that barely cover their thighs — has built a reputation as an eclectic, tongue-in-cheek act since its first Bloomington show six years ago.
“I have never missed a single show since I have turned 21,” Abby, an IU student and fan, said.
The band is known for the breadth of songs and artists that they cover.
Friday night they hits ranging from Dion’s 1961 “Runaround Sue” to Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” and from ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
The rest of the band’s Friday night set followed through on the band’s wedding theme. The Bench Press went on to play major wedding hits like Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel.
“God, I hate Canada, too, but still sometimes their music makes us appreciate them,” said Tuffcurls as the band faded in to play Michael Bublé’s “Save the Last Dance for Me.”
Elsewhere, the band offered life advice.
“Always stay hydrated,” said Tuffcurls, introducing a segment in which the band drinks beer and squats to music from the video game “Final Fantasy VII.” “Chug-‘em-ups” are a signature move of the band’s sets, drummer Dick Celebrity said.
Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press ended its Friday night show with ‘I Had the Time of My Life’ from the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack. The band gave out free beers to its fans and Celebrity handed out his drumsticks.
The next morning at Soma Coffeehouse, the band discussed plans for the future.
“We probably want to do more Disney songs or Queen,” said keyboard and guitar player Happy Masterson.
The band said they want to work on the “Dwayne Johnson 2020 election campaign” in the future.
The members of Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press accredited their success to practice, coffee and marijuana.
They are big coffee aficionados, specifically praising the coffee at Soma on Kirkwood. They said they even first met at a Starbucks.
“Coffee is where it all began” said Masterson.
“Come to Indy tomorrow,” Tuffcurls said, promoting the band’s show at the Vogue the next day. “Smooth driving on I-65,” joked Masterson.
Though they have fans as far east as Washington, D.C., the band keeps coming back to Bloomington. They said they feel that the crowd here is the loudest as people sing along.
Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press will return to the Bluebird Nightclub on August 19.