The crowd at Saturday's Greenville Ave. St. Patrick's Day Parade concert bided its time. As long lines filed into the blocked-off Yale Boulevard party zone, Dallas' Baboon unleashed some amazing hard rock songs, including the new ones I've raved about, to a passive crowd. Hey, the green-clad crowd had priorities, and beer was served far from the stage, so, like, whatever. San Clemente, CA's, generic Bril (who landed their slot because they're labelmates of Vaden Todd Lewis' post-Toadies band the Burden Brothers) followed with a captive audience of about 20 people, who the band bored to tears. "We have to listen to this while holding our front row spots for the Toadies' set? Can't someone just play a Bush CD instead?"
After those two, the masses filed out of the neighboring bars and filled the stage area for a respectable set of hard rock by Dallas' Max Cady. I was glad to see an up-and-coming local band that didn't cater to 102.1 The Edge's formula land the big-time opening slot, but in all honesty, Denton's Hogpig is better at that kind of tongue-in-cheek, hootin' and hollerin' southern rock. Still, the crowd was plenty happy with Max Cady; their cheers were loud yet polite, indicating that maybe, just maybe, this Toadies reunion crowd wouldn't soon lose its minds and act like a bunch of drunk, hyperactive mental ward patients.
Fat chance. After previewing a boring, pre-recorded track from the Burden Brothers' upcoming album Mercy, pumped full of the '70s arena rock overtones that the Toadies always ignored, the guys took the stage and ripped right into "I Come From the Water." Apparently, everyone came from the water, as thousands shouted the phrase back at the band whilst going bonkers. I remember attending Toadies shows in my teens and being smashed by moshing meatheads, but from my safe vantage point, I didn't remember Toadies concerts getting this crazy. Loads of drunk, shirtless guys pushed and shoved the crowd forward as much as possible, sending the unprepared frontrowvians into a panic. During the first four songs, dozens hopped the protective gates (or were dragged and carried after passing out) to escape the insanity; one girl was being pulled toward a backstage medical zone, but the man carrying her slipped and she landed on the concrete, WHAMMO, on her face. In other bloody news, Dallas Observer employee Candy Lancaster was whacked in the head at the show's outset with an empty pitcher (one of about 5,000 blunt objects chunked into the crowd) and had to get staples in her head to stop the bleeding. Thanks for the memories, Toadies fans!
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The band stuck to album cuts, along with two covers--David Bowie's "Rock 'n' Roll Suicide" and Rod Stewart's "Hot Legs"--which the crowd wasn't very vocal about. They came for the hits, proven by the huge pop for "Possum Kingdom" and show closer "Tyler," and while the show went without a hitch, it also went without much special. Lewis wasn't chatty with the crowd, sticking to repeated "How're y'all doin'?" questions, and even though his voice was in fine, shrieking form, the band's performance came off a little too clockwork for a balls-out rock band like the Toadies. When people all around me kept saying, "Well, they haven't played a show for five years," I realized my pessimism wasn't crazy--if fans make excuses for a platinum-selling band, something's up. --Sam Machkovech