For the last 25 years, the Toadies have served as one of North Texas’ iconic bands, having developed an almost cult-like following with their 1994 debut album, Rubberneck. Fans have filled venues on any given night just to see the band, and this past weekend proved they still stand as a local source of pride.
On Friday night, Toadies played to a packed crowd at South Side Ballroom. Parents and their kids, young millennials and elderly lovers of rock 'n' roll showed up for a rocking, festive evening.
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The first opening act was Austin's The Bluebonnets, a Dixie Chicks-meets-The-Rolling-Stones all-female four-piece that create their own version of garage rock, proving that a group of badass women can make headbang-worthy rock tunes.
They were followed by Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights, a previous winner of the Dallas Observer Music Best Male Vocalist award. Although the band has several independent hits and accomplishments under their belt (their music has been heard on shows like Boardwalk Empire and Friday Night Lights) the group performed with palpable humility, showing love to the place where it all began.
The Bluebonnets and the Northern Lights are on the path to replicating the blueprint set by the Toadies themselves — a map to becoming household names and Texas legends in their own rights.
The Toadies opened with “Got a Heart,” a cut from their EP Pleather, which was released before the days of their commercial success with Rubberneck. The band started out with songs spanning all eras of their career, including “Little Sin” from 2001’s Hell Below / Stars Above and “Polly Jean,” from 2017’s The Lower Side of Uptown, and then performed Rubberneck in its entirety. The record boasts some of the Toadies’ biggest hits, including “Mister Love” and “Possum Kingdom,” which is arguably the band’s best-known cut. At the time of its release, the now independent Toadies were signed to Interscope Records, and “Possum Kingdom” peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1995.
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While the band frequently opts to end its shows on their greatest hit, the choice not to do so this weekend allowed for the fans to enjoy the Toadies’ catalog free from any itching anticipation.
After finishing the Rubberneck portion of the set list, the Toadies performed a few more songs from other albums, including “Song I Hate” from 2008’s No Deliverance and “When I Die” from The Other Side of Uptown. The band also performed a cover of “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
While many artists and bands often dwindle into irrelevance after their peak or breakout, the Toadies are proof that good rock music is timeless. Long after the success of “Possum Kingdom” and Rubberneck, the Toadies are still packing venues and are beloved by their fellow North Texans. While the Toadies continue to make quality music and staying true to their brand of rock, their community will always answer their call.