By the time the Toadies walked onstage at The Troubadour, the crowd was more than warmed up. Supporting act Local H inspired a mosh pit front and center, to the point where one unsuccessful man tried with much effort to stage dive. Vadsen Todd Lewis and crew entered to a crowd of bobbing heads, including that of a young boy — a rarity for the evening — in the very first row.
“Hello. How are you feeling?” Lewis asked before launching into “Take Me Alive.”
Toadies, a Texas-originated rock band, are on tour in support of their newest release: The Lower Side of Uptown. The backdrop of the set matched the new album cover, which features a slew of a buildings and a moon. It could probably fit in a comic book. One might assume the red drums and Lewis’ red guitar purposefully matched the backdrop’s red sky.
The band wasted no time. They went straight into “Happyface,” “You’ll Come Down” and “You Know the Words” before taking a moment to chat (and, more importantly, take a few swigs of beer). Lewis informed the audience that “we’re going to pepper in some new songs throughout the set.” True to his words, they played 2007’s “No Deliverance” and “When I Die,” a new track. Next came the first high point of the set, “I Come From the Water,” off the 1994 album Rubberneck. With no lead, fans sang the first chorus all on their own. Two men were so stoked they fist bumped at song’s end, and the band took a moment to chug some more of their beers.
Toadies’ tunes are characterized by a dynamic among rock, country and even punk sounds. It made for a nice evening of enjoying music, but not feeling the need to keep up with any moshing or stage dives. Lewis mostly stood center at the mic, while guitarist Clark Vogeler could often be found hunched and jamming around his corner. Halfway through the set, Lewis informed everyone, “We have a thing we’re doing for survivors of Harvey,” which was met by much approval.
Another standout in the set came in the form of a cover of “I Put a Spell on You.” Scott Lucas of Local H assisted on their rendition of the infamous Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song. If this performance were isolated from the rest of the set, anyone unfamiliar with The Toadies may have mistaken Lewis for a blues crooner. He was very much aware of what kind of moment the band had delivered. At the end, Lewis said, “That just happened.”
After another Rubberneck track, “Tyler,” the band exited. However, The Toadies were then summoned back. The crowd clapped in unison, getting faster as the lights flashed more quickly. Drummer Mark Reznicek came out first. He took a drink of his beer, flexed his biceps (to much applause) and began a steady beat. Lewis, Vogeler and bassist Doni Blair soon followed.
“Here’s a song about setting yourself on fire,” Lewis said before the last song of the night, Rubberneck’s “I Burn.” After the first chorus, four floor toms were brought out. Of the two men that played the extra drums, one wore a mascot-like chicken head. Reznicek and friends beat in time from right to left. It was a surprising end to a throwback kind of night.
- Take Me Alive
- You’ll Come Down
- You Know the Words
- No Deliverance
- When I Die
- I Come From the Water
- Broke Down Stupid
- Summer of the Strange
- I Put a Spell on You (cover)
- Song I Hate
- Possum Kingdom
- Mama Take Me Home
- Stop It (cover)
- I Want Your Love
- Rattler’s Revival
- I Burn