Toadies brought their Southern Gothic, twisted purple of punk rock to Tampa this past Sunday evening to a packed house in the beautiful Ritz Ybor in Ybor City. Toadies have always impressed me with their live shows. This was the third time I have seen the band, once in ’95 opening for the likes of Bush, and Hole, and once on the Summerland Tour with Everclear. I will say out loud that Toadies have stood the test of time better, with better songwriting, than all three of those bands. Not because I don’t like those other bands, but because Toadies have always been a little off kilter with an original Texas sound all their own. I have always said that there is a layer of ‘boogie’ underneath all those sour notes and jaded stories, as if ZZ Top and Buzzcocks birthed a band.
This time around Toadies were on tour to promote their newest record The Lower Side of Uptown and did so with grace and ease maneuvering between 90s classics and the new record’s material without letting off the pedal. Lead singer Vaden Todd Lewis held court over the crowd looking like an MIT professor giving a lecture before a Physics class. Fan favorites, and Rubberneck classics “Happyface”, “I Come From the Water”, and “Backslider” all sent back to the band with full-on vocal gusto from a larger than noticed crowd. Guitarist Clark Vogeler and bassist Doni Blair were on point with drummer Mark Reznicek keeping it tight. The band sprinkled a few new songs including first single from The Lower Side of Uptown “Broke Down Stupid” and new favorite “You Know the Words” with the band sounding eerily similar to how they did 20 years ago. Always a crowd pleaser, the band knows their fans and played their seminal hit “Possum Kingdom” with the crowd of 500 all chanting in unison “Do You Wanna Die”.
Shout out to openers Local H who, like the Toadies, found success with a few albums in the mid-90s. The, before it was cool, two-piece band brought the energy, running through punked out versions of “Eddie Vedder”, “Bound For the Floor”, and “High Fivin’ Motherfucker” with punch in the gut momentum. A welcomed treat indeed.
The whole show was impressive, get in line before it’s too late.
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