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Over The Weekend: The Toadies, Ume, Ishi, True Widow and Here Holy Spain at Saturday's Dallas Observer St. Patrick's Day Concert

The Toadies, Ume, Ishi, True Widow and Here Holy Spain at the Dallas Observer St. Patrick's Day Party
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Energy Square

Better than: Sitting for hours in one spot, getting drunk and watching the parade.

The sea of green stretched for miles in both directions on Greenville Avenue as the unwashed and unwanted amassed to witness the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. By noon, the trash had already accumulated to such an extent that empty beer bottles were routinely exploding underneath moving vehicles.

Thankfully, the parade was winding to a close around the time the Dallas Observer St. Patrick's Day Party was getting started.

Well, sort of. This unlucky reporter was one of many people who could not cross Greenville in time to catch Here Holy Spain perform. By the time the cops started allowing people to scurry past the remnants of the parade, Here Holy Spain had already left the stage. Word was that Wes Todd and crew played a spirited set in front of a sparse crowd of early arrivers.

By the time True Widow was setting up, a few more folks had made their way through the gates and towards the stage. Problem was, most of these people acting as if their hands were tied.

Granted, the slow tempos and hazy vocals that are True Widows stock and trade don't seem to be all that festival-friendly, but the lack of applause after each song was clearly noticeable.

It was as if the audience members were staking out their spots for forthcoming bands.

No, True Widows' mixture of The Melvins and Yo La Tengo didn't seem to particularly engage this already well inebriated batch of St. Patrick's Day revelers. But their band's set was pretty spot-on, even though the outdoor setting played havoc with the sound.

Next up were Ishi, who proceeded in lightening the mood considerably. By this time, the crowd had doubled and partygoers danced to each and every tune. Highly reminiscent of the acid house music of Happy Mondays, John Mudd and the rest of this retro-dressed quartet made a lasting impression on just about everyone. Surprisingly, those earlier sound issues seemed to disappear during Ishi's lengthy and propulsive set.

However, when Austin's Ume hit the stage, those sound issues sadly returned. Already bass-heavy to begin with, Ume's heady post punk became hard to distinguish from the pounding south winds or the street sweepers cleaning up Greenville.

By the time the headlining Toadies made their way to the stage, twilight was imminent and the crowd had ballooned to capacity.

Beginning with "I Come From the Water," The Toadies were on point throughout their lively set. The crowd was fist-pumping and doing its best attempt at a drunken mosh as The Toadies ran through a typical set list that could have come from 1990.

As the crowd left, it was as if time had indeed stood still. Many staggered to the exits with a blissful look on their faces that was something more than just St. Patrick's good cheer.

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It was beautiful weather and (mostly) good company for six hours of quality music for a reasonable price. If you want more than that, I feel bad for you.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I've never been the biggest fan of The Toadies. To me, they were always Dallas' corporate answer to Nirvana and the entire grunge scene. But the fact that they have lasted so long and seem to engage an audience so well, I guess that I will have to, begrudgingly, give the band its due.

By The Way: Why do people only show up for the headliner?

Random Note: As I entered the area, a cop said, "No in and out," to which the guy behind me said, "I've been married for 12 years and I haven't had in and out for a long time."

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