Friday Night: The Toadies At Warehouse Live

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The Toadies Warehouse Live April 15, 2011

Friday night, The Toadies took Warehouse Live's main stage in front of quite a rowdy crowd, hyping the crowd with such well-known hits as "I Come From the Water," "Backslider" and, before the evening's entertainment had ended, a reinterpretation of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down."

In spite of all that, we found ourselves having trouble focusing on the happenings onstage. Maybe we just weren't as excited as everyone else, but by the end of the night, we had been pushed, shoved and flipped off by a considerable amount of fans.

And we're not exactly new to this whole concert-going thing.

Onstage, meanwhile, the Toadies performed an energetic set that was geared directly toward their most die-hard fans. There were no bells, whistles or anything flashy; there wasn't even a backdrop behind the band.

Instead, the whole night was dedicated to grungy rock and roll as performed by a few native Texans, all of whom seemed quite happy to be playing a packed house in their home state.

Guitarist Clark Vogeler was the most fun to watch throughout the night. He seemed to be playing his feedback pedal in a way that the sound was stressed beyond that of an effect; he was actually playing the feedback, if that makes any sense, not unlike the guitar style that Jimi Hendrix invented and honed.

While we wouldn't compare Herbert's abilities to those of the late, great Hendrix, it was refreshing to see and hear someone utilize his instrument's capabilities to the fullest.

The Toadies use a lot of cut time signatures in their music. "Possum Kingdom" is a perfect example. They aren't just playing the same riff over and over; they're cutting it and extending it, coming in early and late on lyrics as they see fit, depending on whether they want to accentuate the lyrics or the instruments. It changes from song to song, but the style can be found in most of their songs.

It is this kind of approach to music that gives the band an edge that has garnered it something of a cult following. It's also why there songs are so easy to play on Guitar Hero but so difficult to epitomize accurately on real instruments.

Near the end of their set, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Vaden Todd Lewis pulled out a percussion mallet and began to beat on the horn of his guitar with his right hand while playing chords with his left, which created a soft timbre that reverberated through the warehouse.

The crowd, enthralled (and perhaps a little perplexed), became quiet and watched Lewis intently as he allowed the guitar's placid sound to echo off the walls.

But we didn't fall silent until during the band's encore, which began with "Possum Kingdom," a half-true story of a Tyler-based stalker who takes one of his victims to a lake and rapes her. While the stalker really existed, as accounted for by Lewis' 1995 interview with RIP Magazine, the rape never happened.

Even though it isn't a factual narrative, a packed music venue full of people singing along to a song about rape is a bit ominous, even for us.

Personal Bias: Stoked to see the Toadies live for the first time.

The Crowd: Put politely, a lot of them were just a little overly energetic. As least the ones who got into a fistfight were thrown out.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Anyone know where my wife is?!"

Random Notebook Dump: I wonder if band's ever resent their fans being jerks. Don't get us wrong; there were plenty of easy-going, fun-loving people at Saturday's show, but there were quite a few inconsiderate concertgoers, too. Where are The Toadies from, again? Just kidding, Dallas!


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