Toad The Wet Sprocket Concert Review
Sixteen years after their last studio album, Coil, Toad The Wet Sprocket is on the verge of releasing a long-awaited new album. From what we heard at Hard Rock’s Velvet Sessions, the fans of the band are going to be quite pleased with the sound of the new stuff. Like that comfortable old sweatshirt from your college days, the band is back with their distinctive familiar feel.
The setlist included a few of the new tracks, highlighted by the title track “New Constellation” which had folks in the packed house dancing unabashedly. The songs have that same clean, slick feel we’ve grown accustomed to, and the band sound still possesses that smooth 90’s Alt-rock vibe.
Lead singer Glen Phillips still takes the stage bare-footed and looks much the same as he did all those years ago. His voice is as pure as we remember. His band mates miraculously remain the same guys who started the band out of high school in 1986 – amazing seeing a band that has stood that test of time without any personnel changes.
On this night, drummer Randy Guss was absent for a family emergency and as Phillips noted regarding his replacement “this guy has had two days to learn twenty songs,” and he did a damn good job (unfortunately, I did not catch his name). Phillips chatted with the crowd throughout the set in an affable way, at one time sharing humorous thoughts on his first album ever, Saturday Night Fever.
Dean Dinning on bass and Todd Nichols on guitar (and occasional lead vocals) haven’t missed a beat and were joined on stage by guest keyboardist Jonathan Kingham. The band did not have an electric triangle player on stage (there’s a reference for you Monty Python fans familiar with the derivation of the band’s name).
Highlights of the sets included the aforementioned “New Constellation,” a stripped down version of “Whatever I Fear” and the killer harmonies of “California Wasted.” The band’s hits were also very well received by the diversely aged crowd, highlighted by “All I Want,” “Something’s Always Wrong,” the dance-inducing “Fall Down” and the final song of the night, the singalong vibe of “Walk On the Ocean.”
As the band exited the stage, Monty Python’s clever “Always Walk on the Bright Side of Life” piped through the speakers, an apt way to end a bright and hopeful return to the rock music landscape.
The band’s new album is an independent release fueled by an uber-successful Kickstarter campaign. The targeted release date is mid-Septemeber. Check it out, and in the meantime, take advantage of the increased opportunities to see these guys live.
The Setlist is provided below.
Check out our Photos from the show, including a handful of the fans: Toad The Wet Sprocket Photos
All I Want
Whatever I Fear
Come Back Down
Something’s Always Wrong
I’ll Bet on You
Walk on the Ocean