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.
Toadies – June 14th – ROC, Madeira State Park, Madeira Beach, Florida
Written By: Brian Furman
Fort Worth, Texas’s The Toadies are alt-rock stalwarts. Their mega-hit “Possum Kingdom” has transcended to rock greatness with their record Rubberneck arguably one of the best of that 90’s era if not of alt-rock entirely. While they have put out great music after Rubberneck, it has largely gone unnoticed unless by die-hard fans…which is a damn shame.
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So… I was super excited to hear The Toadies were added to the 2015 Summerland Music Festival bill which unfortunately has been overlooked as far as the festivals tours go, and has fallen to the depths of deep 90’s nostalgia. Which again, is a damn shame because there were truly rockin’ bands at the festival: Fuel, American Hi-Fi, and Everclear to name a few, all multi-platinum selling artists in a time when that mattered. But The Toadies were the ones that most in attendance couldn’t wait to see, and they proved worthy enough for us all to bake in the Florida heat.
Frontman, Vaden Todd Lewis, still the skinny powerhouse of a singer that melded a high-pitched southern growl with commanding control, sounded as if he walked through a wormhole straight from 1995. The rest of the band followed suit delivering brutal renditions of Rubberneck classics: “Backslider”, “I Come From the Water” and “Possum Kingdom” driving the crowd to ask each other “Do you want to die” in dramatic fashion….with tongue firmly in cheek.
See photos from the show here: The Toadies Concert Photos
The band delivered on “No Deliverance” the title track from the album of the same name with both the rhythm section of Doni Blair and Mark Reznicek rocking out as hard as the crowd. “Little Sin” and “Heel” from Hell Above/Stars Below showcased the grossly underrated sophomore album. Lewis and lead guitarist Clark Vogeler never wavering, playing off each other, not with great technical skill but with a mastery of the constant feedback filling the gaps playfully underneath each song.
Unfortunately for the crowd, they played a shortened set due to the festival lineup, but were able to include a new song “In the Belly of the Whale” which could have fit nicely as a B-side on Rubberneck. The song seemed a throwback to a slowed version of Texas boogie combined with a Halloween feel that the crowd took quick notice of.
The band all seemed to be generally having a good time with Lewis quipping at one point “We play to 0 people in our hometown of Fort Worth, and we come to Florida to play for 1,000 so we like it here”. “Rattler’s Revival” followed after Lewis told the crowd he felt like dancing and they were going to have to help him. The catchy tune did not feature the brass section on the recording, but the live version wasn’t missing anything with Blair and Vogeler filling in nicely.
They even payed homage to Texas heroes ZZ Top playing the beginning licks of the classic “La Grange” before seamlessly walking the intro, highlight of the set, and fan favorite “Tyler” from Rubberneck, arguably the best song they have in their arsenal. The energy only seemed to ramp up during the last minute scream of Lewis rasping the story of a man breaking into a woman’s house and fumbling to her bedroom commanding “I will be with her tonight” Lewis and the entire crowd chanted the narrative in unison, in the brutal Tampa sun.
It almost felt as if the band was validated by the amount of people that knew who they were, and I find that absolutely astonishing. For those who are reading this and know nothing of the band, go to the local record store and pick up a used copy of Rubberneck. Listen to the record from beginning to end, as a record should be listened too, and then Thank Us in the comments section. It will be well worth it.
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The Summer doldrums. Not as many rocking shows in Orlando this month with the college students gone and so many outdoor festivals in Tampa and across the rest of the country, but still a few interesting shows:
7/3, Boston – Hard Rock Hotel – They were just a local band out of Boston…
7/6, Reel Big Fish – House of Blues. Great ska music from The West Coast, Cali style.
7/9, Best Coast – The Social. Another West Coast band, this time Surf Punk style.
7/10, Tyler Hilton – The Social. The part-time actor plays rock star this month, singing and playing guitar for us this month
7/25, Styper – House of Blues
7/27, The Toadies – House of Blues. Reunited and back on tour supporting a new album. Make up Your Mind…
7/27, Vans Warped Tour – Central Florida Fairgrounds. This year’s festival features about 3,000 bands, including Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, All Time Low, New Found Glory and The Lost Prophets.
Lots of cool shows to pick from at the amphitheater this month!
7/4, Three Dog Night – Sutton Park Pavilion. Should be Joyous
7/11, Tyler Hilton – Orpheum.
7/13, Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival – 1 800 Ask Gary Amphitheater. Headbangers special with Slipknot, Slayer, Anthrax and Motorhead, plus a few others
7/17, Last Summer on Earth Tour – 1 800 Ask Gary Amphitheater. Some 90’s Bands hanging out together again under the stars: Barenaked Ladies, Cracker, Big Head Todd &the Monsters and Blues Traveler
7/18, Dave Matthews – 1 800 Ask Gary Amphitheater. Still don’t understand the appeal for this guy…
7/20, Unity Tour – 1 800 Ask Gary Amphitheater. 311, Slightly Stoopid, The Aggrolites
7/26, Toadies – State Theater (St. Pete)
7/28, KISS and Motley Crue – 1 800 Ask Gary Amphitheater. This one just reeks of fun! Might have to make the trip for this one.
7/29, Vans Warped Tour – Vinoy Waterfront Park (St. Pete). This year’s festival features about 3,000 bands, including Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, All Time Low, New Found Glory and The Lost Prophets.
7/20, Unity Tour – St. Augustine Amphitheater. 311, Slightly Stoopid, The Aggrolites
7/24, Toadies – Jack Rabbits.
7/28, Yes with Procul Harem – St. Augustine Amphitheater. Some classic Progressive rockers who have found the Fountain of Youth visit the oldest city in America. These bands may have been playing back when Ponce DeLeon was roaming these streets.
7/31, Little Feat – Florida Theater