Crazy Town Reviews the Toadies @ Stubbs
Artist: Toadies and Local H
Venue: Stubbs Waller Creek Amphitheater – Austin, TX
Date: Nov. 10, 2017
When it comes to 90’s alternative rock, two bands that have withstood the tests of time are the Toadies and Local H. Although neither band has ever stuck super stardom, their fan bases are as loyal as they come. Thinking back to the mid 90’s, as a high school kid laying in my room, I had dreams of being in a rock band just like these two classic grunge era groups and now they were touring together over 20 years later.
The weather in Austin had started to be less hot and humid, and start gearing more towards the chilly side of the spectrum for Texas. This night it was about 55 degrees and if you caught the breeze just right would send a chill down your back to your toes. Perfect weather for an outdoor show and there I was ready to walk up to the venue to start this journey.
As I approached the venue, there were tons of fans lined up at Stubbs BBQ in Austin Texas waiting for the gates to open. Some were dressed in their throwback 90’s gear to show how truly loyal they are, and other were dressed as if those 20 years really had passed since they were in high school. The age mix of the crowd surprised me a little, as I didn’t expect much of a younger crowd for this show but there was definitely a representation of millennials here showing that these two bands music really has stayed relevant over the past two or three decades.
When Local H took the stage, the crowd erupted with a fury of remembered teenage angst from back in the hay day of these band’s prime years. The ferocity of the band’s sound that started the show with was amazing, you could feel it in your chest.
They began the show with “The Last Picture Show in Zion” which is from one of the bands newest albums Hey Killer released in 2015. I hadn’t ever listen to this album until after the show, and I must tell you it is a solid album from start to finish. I thoroughly recommend checking out.
As they ravaged through the setlist, the crowd became more alive. I felt like this sort of crowd was unlike may I had seen before for an opening band and you could tell that just as many fans were here to see Local H as were there for the Toadies.
After a few more songs, they surprised the crowd by playing a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “I Need to Know”, which sent the crowd into a frenzy as Tom Petty had just met his untimely demise mess than a month before. As much as I like Local H, this song was the highlight of their set for me.
Finally, they made their way to some of their biggest hits, “Hands on the Bible” and “Bound For the Floor”. The latter is probably their most well know track off their album As Good A Dead from the mid 90’s. They finished their set with “High-Fiving-MF” also off that same album and even through in a little bit of Peter Gabriel’s “Shock the Monkey”.
Overall, I would give Local H a 7 out of 10. Its had definitely been a long time since I listened to a Local H album, and I had forgotten how much the could rock the house. Their stage presence really elevated the show, if not for that it may have been a lower rating. Also, if you ever cover a Tom Petty song that goes a long way wiht this guy’s opinion.
When the Toadies took the stage a little while later, the crowd eruption made the decibel level for Local H sound like a whisper. As a local Texas band, the Toadies are well loved, admired, and their home-grown fan base is second to none. I swear the entire crowd was screaming and singing along during the entire set like nothing I had ever heard before. I’m sure some of the fans has some explaining to do the next day as they got back to the 9-5 grind with no voice.
The Toadies wasted no time getting right into their rugged Texas rock sound with a new track of the latest album “The Lower Side of Uptown”. I hadn’t heard this track yet, but I must say I feel in love immediately. Although, my favorite Toadies albums are the first two, their later releases show how much they have evolved as musicians over time.
Some of the songs that had the loudest crowd involvement were tracks from their second and third Hell Below Stars Above and No Deliverance. “Push the Hand” and “No Deliverance” were so powerfully played, but when they started in with one of their more mellow tracks “Doll Skin”, you could feel the emotion set over the crowd. It was awe inspiring.
The reaction to these tracks was nothing compared to when they would pull out tracks from their debut album Rubberneck. I have seen the Toadies a few times before and every time you hear them play “I Come From the Water”, “Possum Kingdom”, or “Tyler”, the crowd involvement to those three particular songs would make you think that the Toadies were covering a songs written by the entire crowd instead of their own track.
The Toadies stuck with mostly tracks from their first three studio albums but threw a couple more tracks from the latest release in along the way. This made me go home and immediately put on their newest album, The Lower Side of Uptown, on my Spotify and it blew my mind. If you haven’t heard it yet, you need to stop reading and listen now.
The Toadies came back and did a four song encore set. The first song was a cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Breakdown”, which is one of my all time favorite tracks by Tom Petty. The already emotional vibe of this show was taken to another level at this point and I’m not going to lie to you folks right now, but when this song was played it brought a tear to my eye.
Once they finished the cover and the crowd screamed for what seemed like minutes, they played out with “Rattler’s Revival”, “I Burn” and a cover of “I Put Spell on You”. I felt that was such a fitting end to this show because by the time I left I was glowing and in a trance like state.
This Toadies perfromance was a solid 9 out of 10. I have seen the Toadies before and I would absolutely go see them any chance I get until they stop touring. They are a top notch show and especially so in their home state of Texas.