Dia De Los Toadies
With Toadies, Sarah Jaffe, Burden Brothers, Buck Pets and more
Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth
Friday and Saturday, September 11 and 12, 2015
The scene near downtown Fort Worth on Saturday night was a mixture of old-blooded nostalgia and young-blooded energy, combining together to form one hell of a rock festival. The marriage of the best of today’s and yesterday’s Dallas-Fort Worth rock brought huge crowds to the Panther Island Pavilion for the annual Dia de los Toadies, which was in its eighth iteration this year.
People from all over DFW flocked to catch the typical headlining set from the festival's namesake act, Toadies, as well as the highly anticipated reunion of Vaden Todd Lewis' Burden Brothers and a couple of other blasts-from-the-past. Even though the mean age of the festival attendee hovered right around 40, the energy was palpable between the performers and the crowd. Young and old melded together as one to celebrate good old-fashioned rock and roll with a DFW twist, right off the banks of the Trinity River, in the shadow of Cowtown.
Playing locally for the second time this year since they headlined the second night of music at The Bomb Factory back in March, Toadies were as awesome as expected. The crowd certainly seemed to be in unanimous agreement on that point, showing their appreciation by having a rowdy good time — so much so that security had trouble keeping things in line several times throughout the set. It was all in good fun, though; everyone was simply having a blast rocking along with their favorite Fort Worth rock band. All the hits were played, from “Tyler” to “Possum Kingdom” to “I Come From the Water,” as well as a couple of songs from the new album Heretics, set to release later this week.
While Toadies were as solid as ever, there seemed to be a little something extra behind the performance on Saturday. Perhaps it was leftover adrenaline from Lewis’ earlier reunion with the Burden Brothers, or from seeing their old rock friends Buck Pets; whatever it was, there seemed to be some ethereal element to the show that made it more special than previous performances. The crowd wasn’t satisfied when Toadies left the stage either, as they were summoned back for an encore of three more songs to close out the night in spectacular fashion.
The other major attraction of the day was the reunion of Burden Brothers, the Dallas rock band that also features Reverend Horton Heat’s Taz Bentley, together again for the first time since 2006. From the first note they were off like a shot from a cannon, and their set lived up to fans' expectations. “Just like riding a bicycle,” Lewis proclaimed, sporting a big grin. They didn’t seem like a band on hiatus for the past nine years; there was a fresh spirit to the performance. It seems that the good feelings were mirrored by the audience too, as big grins and waves of nostalgia took over the faces of all those in attendance.
One of the more surprising acts was Chicago-based Local H, a hard-hitting rock duo with a rich history dating back to the late '80s. They went on stage and immediately brought the noise and energy, rocking the entire festival all the way back to the food trucks. Drummer Ryan Harding was especially dynamic as he annihilated every strike of the drum set during the 30-minute set. Hardly taking a break from the pounding rock, the vets showed they're nowhere near past their prime, even after 28 years in the game.
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The selection of local acts playing earlier in the day was impeccable too. Fort Worth sweethearts Gollay started things off strong as people began to slowly trickle into the festival. Son of Stan was up next, sounding bright and crisp, with retro-inspired synth swirling about upbeat, shiny guitars. Sealion's high-energy garage/surf rock was as consistent as ever. They reminisced about traversing the country on tour with Toadies, their rock forefathers.
Buck Pets had fond memories of Toadies too, albeit ones from over 20 years ago. It was just that sort of contrast that made the day great: Those two bands grew up together in Deep Ellum back in the early '90s, while a band like Sealion is, well, still growing up now. But all of these bands are united by one thing: their love of Toadies.