Sunday, August 8, 2010
Concert review: The Toadies at Palladium Ballroom (August 7)
They resonate just as strongly as they did 15 years ago, especially with Todd Lewis’ trademark howl.
DALLAS There are few things in life which are worth standing in line 40 minutes for a beer. Apparently, a Toadies concert is one of them.
The Palladium Ballroom was packed to the hilt Saturday to host the Toadies. In fact, all three rooms – Gilley’s, The Loft, and the Palladium Ballroom – featured shows, which meant the entire complex was full, but the Ballroom was uncomfortably so.
The Toadies — “I Burn” (Live)
The Toadies took the stage in a triumphant display of raised arms and fist pumps, like knights returning from a crusade. While the audience was still welcoming them, they launched right into “Backslider” off of 1994’s Rubberneck. In fact, two of the first three songs were from that landmark album, and they resonate just as strongly as they did 15 years ago, especially with Todd Lewis’ trademark howl just as cutting as ever.
What followed was a set that represented the whole Toadies catalog, including No Deliverance and the brand-new Feeler, which was long-delayed due to legal issues and label disputes. It was a show that featured a band that, at its best, is full of catchy riffs and odd rhythm changes that hook the listener more with each twist and turn. And, while the band didn’t move around too much, the crowd made sure that air guitars and “rock 'n' roll” hand gestures were on prominent display.
The bill also featured two other local bands, Arlington’s The House Harkonnen and Fort Worth’s The Burning Hotels. The Burning Hotels opened the show with a moody but energetic and upbeat set. Backlit by four florescent-light towers, the band featured a tight indie-rock sound that blended bands like The Strokes and Interpol, and ranged in style from choppy, disjointed pop to rather pretty love songs.
The House Harkonnen offered something completely different, as they brought their righteous, take-no-prisoners brand of metal full of sleeve tattoos, grungy plaid flannel shirts, double kick-drum pedals, and mutton chops, spanning the musical gap between Black Sabbath and Mastodon. Their ambition got the better of them at times, however, especially in their epic, 10-minute set-closer that lost many in attendance.
As a personal aside, I mentioned earlier that the Palladium was uncomfortable. Anyone who’s been at a sold-out Palladium show knows the lines at the bar can be long, and space is at a premium. But on this night, the Ballroom seemed beyond its capacity in almost every way. Making issues worse was the insistence of leaving every light off – except those behind the bars and a couple on stage – in-between bands, leaving hundreds of people packed in a cramped space in near-pitch-black darkness and forcing many to rely on the light from their phones just to get around.
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