Since there wasn’t a new episode of The Triple Feature last night due to the fact that I was seeing The Toadies in concert, I thought I would make it up to you by blogging about my experience at the show. Yeah, I know it’s not movie-related. But it’s my site, so I can bend the rules!

I had a great time last night. Easily one of the top shows of my life. I’ve been on a roll lately seeing concerts. Last Thursday I went to see Clutch. Bands like the Toadies and Clutch don’t come to Iowa very often – if ever. So if they’re making a stop and you want to see them, you have to seize the opportunity.

Whereas I was anxious about seeing Clutch because I felt like I was going to be the old guy in the corner bobbing my head along wit the music, I found my confidence and mixed it up at the Toadies. I was front and center as Todd Lewis and the group bellowed out songs at breakneck speed.

In case you’re not familiar with the Toadies, they were part of the second wave of grunge – the post-Seattle “alternative” sound labels started snatching up once they figured out crunching riffs and dark subject matter could be profitable. You might remember their song “Possum Kingdom” and it’s memorable coda “Do you wanna die?!” from their album Rubberneck from 1994. The Toadies were never really grunge, but the dark subject matter of their lyrics lead most people to believe they were. They have more of a hard rock/bluegrass feel. They’re basically what Alice in Chains would sound like if Layne Staley’s influences were John Lee Hooker and ZZ Top.

Their label rejected the Toadies second album, Feeler and it took the group 7 years before they produced their follow up, Hell Below, Stars Above in 2001. Of course, by then, musical tastes had moved on. Although I personally find Hell Below, Stars Above the better album, it didn’t receive the same reception Rubberneck did. The Toadies broke up not long after that, but are recently reformed and touring behind last year’s No Deliverance.

That’s quite the history lesson.

Anyway, the show was great and I had a ton of fun. I think we caught the band by surprise as well. “You weren’t the crowd I was expecting on a Monday night,” Lewis said between songs.

The only down point came during the crescendo of their song “Tyler,” a really great song I encourage all of you to download, and the crowd was really hopping. Right before it reached the breaking point, some moron starts throwing water all over the crowd and stage. Bouncers came flying out from the wings yelling at the guy to stop it. The band stopped playing and disappointed groans followed.

“Whoever is throwing water, that’s not cool, man,” said Lewis. “We’re up here with, like, a million wires and thousands of volts of electricity. Electricity and water don’t mix, moron!” People were pissed. If the crowd had figured out who it was throwing water, they would have torn him apart. It was pointless for the band to pick up where the left off because they right at the end of the song. People had been calling for that song all night and some tool went and ruined it for everyone. The band pressed on and got things rolling again, but I hope that guy thinks twice before he decides to give everyone an involuntary shower again.

Like any show, there were other interesting characters. Here are somethings I’ve noticed about the concert experience, not entirely specific to seeing the Toadies last night. Let me share them and then tell me what you think:

  • Why is it that the tallest guy in the room always somehow manages to get in the front row and why am I always stuck standing behind him? I’m 5’10”, so it’s not like I’m some runt who can’t see over most people’s shoulders. But when you have 6’5″ Gigantor lumbering around in front of you, it’s a little annoying.
  • Additionally, why does the tallest guy in the room have to obscure the view of people behind him further by constantly extending his arms over his head and trying to reach the singer with his banana hands? Is it because you have the reach you decide “It would be a waste not to?”
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, can someone explain to me why the tiniest of tiny girls will make their way to the front and then get pissed off when the mosh pit riles up. I had a girl who couldn’t have been more than 5’3″ pushing back on me most of the night. I’m sorry, darling, but I have 200 people at my back pushing forward. I’m not taking a knee to the kidney for your sake. The phenomenon of people in the very front annoyed there is this kind of activity going on behind them befuddles me.
  • If you are near the front recording the show with your Flip camera or taking pictures with your cellphone, I will do everything in my power to stay away from you. I came to watch the band on the stage. Not have my line-of-sight corrupted by what’s on your tiny 2″ screen.
  • Why is it that the white guy with dreadlocks either always wants to throw their arm around your shoulder or use your back as a springboard for jumping up and down?

Anyway, just a couple of observations. What are your thoughts?

I had a great time at the show. If you have a chance to see the Toadies in concert, I strongly suggest you do so!