Saturday, September 13, 2008

Concert Report: The Toadies

We've got a special treat today: a guest post from my brother Bill Brassky, who went to see the Toadies Thursday night in Los Angeles and was kind enough to file this report.

Toadies at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip... in 2008.
For an hour and 45 minutes, it felt like 1995. There was a mosh pit. There was crowd surfing. (One guy even went with the daring face first crowd surf, inviting hands to grab whatever they pleased.) There was an obscure Waynes World 2 reference. Another dude even got thrown out. The guys in the band seemed genuinely touched by all the enthusiasm (probably a result of the years off) and threw in an extra new song during a five song encore.
Since they only have three albums of material, they were able to play every song you'd think they would--with the notable exception of "Hell Below/Stars Above." They opened with an instrumental jam before going into "Backslider." Finished the regular portion of the show with "I Come From the Water." Opened the encore with "Hell or High Water" (I think that's the title) from the new album and closed with "Tyler." They played "Possum Kingdom" in the middle of the set right after "Push That Hand" (which might have been the highlight of the night for me). There was a lot of jumping up and down.
I had seen the Toadies once before in 2000 when they were promoting Hell Below/Stars Above. Mr. Peppers and I drove out to Foss, Oklahoma (halfway between Amarillo and OKC) to see them at the Foss Ballroom. I don't really remember much about this show except that the lead singer played one of the songs off that album by hitting his guitar with a mallet (he did that again last night) and being told that the place was dead before the show by a rustler at a nearby Conoco.
The Toadies we saw that night were in the same position as the ones I saw Thursday night--a band trying to come back from years away. But the current version seems to be having a better time and accepts that most of the 30somethings in the crowd just want to hear "I Burn" and "Mister Love," not the new stuff. Though, that might also be the difference in playing for a few hundred people in middle of nowhere Oklahoma and a packed room on the Sunset Strip.
It's too bad the Toadies weren't more famous back in the day because they're still really tight. New songs, old songs, not-so-old songs, all sounded great. Their awesomeness might be diminished by playing in bigger venues, but they should give Sponge and the Presidents of the United States of America a call and put together some sort of larger tour (i.e. the greatest tour ever). I'm not sure if those bands appeal to the same audience, but 6th grade me would give up his best Airwalks to see a show like that. If they could somehow get Weezer to quit sucking, they've got themselves a headliner.

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