The Toadies 20th Anniversary Show

The Toadies 20th Anniversary Show

May 7, 2014

Brewster Street Ice House- Corpus Christi, TX

            The Toadies,played to a sold-out crowd in Corpus Christi, Texas on May 7, 2014 at Brewster Street Icehouse, for the 20th Anniversary of their platinum-selling, break-through album Rubberneck. The album Rubberneck was released August of 1994 on Interscope Records, reaping Gold & Platinum status in December of 1995 & December of 1996. The Album reached #56 on the Billboard top 200 & #1 on Heatseekers. The band’s #1 single, Possum Kingdom, propelled the band into immortality, overnight on Mtvs 120Minutes.

Walking into the venue, signs were hung everywhere warning patrons of the sold-out show with headlining act The Toadies. People were being turned away left & right, proving that it’s best to purchase tickets early when a band this big comes your way. As per usual – Fort Worth, Texas based band The Toadies, played to a very packed & passionately, exuberant house. Bringing it big, the only way Texas knows how.

JHW_9162     Starting the show with a bang Portland, OR based Battleme took to the stage wasting no time stimulating the crowd with original – Grungy, Folk songs reminiscent of the 90’s, written by singer, songwriter, musician & front-man Matt Drenik. Playing their 37 minute set, they managed to draw in quite a crowd for an opening act, an uncommon occurrence for any live show of this magnitude. Soon after Battleme knocked the crowd dead, the self-proclaimed “Greatest Band in the World” The Supersuckers took over.

Hailing from Seattle, Washington. Birthplace of the forever loved Grunge Genre(s), & Signed onto SuBPoP Lable (Nirvana, Soundgarden Mudhoney) The Supersuckers, brought the crowd back to life with their elevated performance, of Southern Rock, mixed with a little Grunge & a pinch of Cow-Punk. Reciprocating the crowd well, the band continued their set drawing even more people closer to the stage. Before one would have the time to blink, the venue became completely packed, void of shoulder room only.

After The Supersuckers, tore up their set with a very palatable set-list, the time had come in which we all were waiting for…The previous band’s set was dismantled in no time and all that was left was that of The Toadies. The trap-set sitting dead center on a high-rise with the logo from the cover of the platinum-selling album staring the adoring, Texas sized crowd down in the face.

The Toadies, take to the stage & the crowd goes insane – totally unprepared for the cannonade of hit’s they would take to their earholes on this 20th Anniversary show. Mexican Hairless, began The Toadies set as it does on the album. Described as an homage to Rev. Horton Heat, The Toadies played the fast paced Grunge-Punk hit, instantly sending the crowd back-in-time to the days of Grunge yore, where some of the fans weren’t thought of and others were reliving the days of plaid shirts, hole-y jeans with thermal underwear & Doc. Martins. Lyric-less, Mexican Hairless, was advised against by the labels representatives to be placed as the 1st track on the platinum-selling album, in fear they wouldn’t make any sells due to people returning the album thinking it’s broke. Unbeknownst at the time, the album alone would wrought six singles from 1994-1996-Possum Kingdom; Mister Love; Away, Tyler; Backslider and I Come From the Water.

Immediately following Mexican Hairless, was Mister Love. As described in the documentary “Dark Secrets – The Stories of Rubberneck”… The song was written about a band member from another band that was in town at the time & had changed his last name to Love, tu-whit Vaden Todd Lewis, found hilariously funny. This song too, paying homage to aforementioned Love, an acrimonious jab to Love for “saving” Vaden & the Dallas – Fort Worth, TX area music-scene(s)… (Ironically it was The Toadies that indeed saved the Dallas – Fort Worth, areas) JHW_9301

          Backslider continued this phenomenal night, written in third person from personal experience. Vaden Todd Lewis, sings about being brought up in a strict religious background of the southern bible-belt, & the choked angst that follows it. One of his earliest & personal songs Backslider, holds nothing back both emotionally & physically, also written out of spite as oppose to being fictional. Things only got better from here ladies & gentlemen, and I’m not just being biased because I live in Texas; as a matter of fact I was raised in Ks, when this photojournalist first heard of this band at the tender young age of 17.

Before we knew it, the opening riffs to The Toadies #1 hit Possum Kingdom, began playing. Guys & Girls alike could be seen shrieking into each-other’s faces with complacency. As if they had been BFF’s since time began, rather they knew each-other or not. Like a guild of long – lost tribal members from the days of Celtic Gladiators, they clung to each-other singing the words verbatim. As the song reaches its climatic point the crowd began jumping & thrashing-about synchronously, just like in the mid 90’s music video. Possum Kingdom, erroneously thought to of been about a serial killer in Waco, Texas area. It is actually a continuing story (only in reverse order on the album) of the Ghost of a Cult leader from one of Vaden Todd Lewis’s nightmarish dreams, which gave birth to the band’s unsuspected, underground single, I Burn.

        JHW_9307 Quickly following was Quitter, & Away. Away; being their third single on the album, written about being able to transcend realities, based off of a comment Vaden’s boss at the record store had mentioned to him one day. I come from the Water, Yet another classic gem that sent the crowd singing along with the band. Vaden letting the crowd finish the lyrics for him. Based off being brought up by a religious man who also believes in Darwinism. Tyler set the mood driving people completely-fuckin-nuts. Tyler, came about from a story Vaden overheard while visiting his grandparents as a young child. The story was about how a window peeper, had been spotted in the area going from house to house & the fear of how said pervert may take it a step further if he isn’t caught.

In rapid continuation came Happy Face & Velvet followed by the last track on the album I Burn. Vaden, put his Custom Toadies guitar down and picked up the acoustic guitar to begin the track. Much to the crowds surprise two other percussionists joined them on stage bring the number of drummers from one to three, to help perform this underground single. Towards the end of the song when the drums finally come in, the two extra percussionists with a floor tom and a snare drum a piece started beating the drums in synchronized, rhythmic, movements with each other.

(the actual video from that night to embed on the site)


       I Burn, came to be from a dream Vaden, had; about a party he was invited to by a girlfriend at the time.

“I’m walking to this party and as I get closer to the party. I notice a mailbox on fire…. then a trash can, then eventually the whole house is engulfed in flames, so I’m getting closer to the party and I get to this house and I kind of walk around to the back where this party is, and it’s all these people jumping around, dancing around, there’s this music, there’s drums and a giant bonfire and one by one these people are throwing themselves into the fire. The idea is that they were going to transcend their physical bodies by immolation, so they were going to burn themselves ti become something Higher Power, something bigger outside the physical realm and that’s what I Burn is about. Taking the voice of someone who was in that cult or whatever you want to call it…As I want to do a lot of times I make up a character and carry it through several songs. So I finished out I Burn and I thought; suppose this guy does it & he’s just screwed. Because now he’s just smoke, where does he go from there? So he goes to “Possum Kingdom” and tries to find someone to join him”.

        I Burn, concluded the album Rubberneck but the Toadies were not done there my friends… The Toadies, continued this astounding night with a 2nd set & a four song Encore. In rapid succession, they pushed out more hits like Push the Hand; Got a Heart; Little Sin; Summer of the Strange No Deliverance & a phenomenal, hard-rocking, cover of Blondie’s Heart of Glass ending the 2nd set with Rattler’s Revival.

Opening up their Encore with a Pylon cover Stop It & moving on to 3 originals from The Toadies, Dollskin, Sweetness, and ending the phenomenal night with Hell in High Water. If you have been sitting at home, feeling nostalgic for the days of Grunge, then this is definitely a show to not be missed. You will fill your youth pouring back into your youthful soul, refilling you with feelings from the past teenage angst & rights-of-passage. BRAVO TO THE TOADIES!

Review by: Jared Wingate

The Toadies

The Supersuckers