Toadies, The Tontons
December 29, 2017
House of Blues
Toadies are an interesting case as it pertains to rock music. On one hand, the band is most known for its 1994 debut, Rubberneck, which spawned a number of hit singles and eventually went Platinum, making the band household names in the process before eventually breaking up in 1997. On the other, and while it took more than a decade, the band has pretty much released a new album every two years since reforming in 2008.
And sure, a number of those in attendance on Friday night at House of Blues came to hear the hits from Rubberneck. But damn if a number of others weren’t in tune with Toadies’ more recent catalog. Before a packed house in downtown Houston, Fort Worth’s own Toadies wailed through an 80-minute set that was as rousing at it was nostalgic.
Simply put, rock bands like Toadies don’t really come along anymore. Once upon a time, a band could get together, play some shows, get a record deal, and if they played their cards right, crank out a hit single or two that made them a ton of money in the process. Now, some 20-plus years later, Vaden Todd Lewis and crew are a reminder that bands from the '90s are far more likely to rock than their modern-day counterparts.
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While bands like Imagine Dragons and Twenty-One Pilots may fill up arenas and move plenty of product, bands of the Toadies era – Foo Fighters, Everclear, Green Day, etc. – have a penchant for raucous rock shows, no matter their age. Sure, Toadies aren’t as young as they used to be – Lewis is the only remaining member with a full head of hair, and even that mane has gone gray – but that didn’t stop the band from blaring through the hits of yesteryear while mixing in more contemporary fare, particularly tracks from the band’s latest, The Lower Side of Uptown.
Yes, “Possum Kingdom” – which closed out the band’s pre-encore set – received the greatest ovation of the night, and “Tyler” – included in the band’s encore – wasn’t far behind. Even so, newer tracks like “Polly Jean” and “Broke Down Stupid” – not to mention a cover of “I Put a Spell on You,” which closed out the show – served as a reminder that Toadies are a band that not only thrives on its past output, but its modern catalog as well.
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So, How Was the Opener?: Whether I get out for the opener typically depends on when said opener goes on. Fortunately, Houston’s own The Tontons didn’t take the stage until a little after 9 o'clock on Friday night, well after most of the crowd had packed in for the headlining set. Having seen the band at various shows locally over the years, I’d always been impressed by their talent and stage presence. However, before such a large crowd at a noteworthy venue, the Tontons’ abilities were truly on display. Frontwoman Asli Omar and her band, who were named the Houston Press’s Best New Act in 2008, deserve many more large-scale settings in the future, perhaps as a headlining act the next time around.
The Crowd: Pretty much what you’d expect. Mostly in their 40s, lotta glasses and receding hairlines. Ton of couples, some of whom were obviously new to said relationships and going through the all-too-fun early relationship stuff, others who seemingly had been together since Toadies' mid-'90s heyday. Some of the more aggressive types even busted out a mosh pit. One can assume many of those fellas are tired today, perhaps a bit sore as well.
Overheard in the Crowd: “I just got their new album. It’s badass.” Glad to hear Toadies’ new music still resonates.
Also Overheard in the Crowd: “Man, those guys were awesome.” Apparently, I wasn’t the only one overly impressed by The Tontons.