(Above: “Possom Kingdom,” in case you forgot how it goes.)
By Joel Francis
The Kansas City Star
The Toadies’ career has been one of fits and spurts, so it was only fitting their concert at the Beaumont Club Thursday night be filled with stops and starts.
The Fort Worth hard rock quartet broke into the mainstream with their 1994 hit “Possom Kingdom” but didn’t get around to releasing their sophomore album until 2001, just in time for the band to break up. They regrouped in 2006 and cut their third album last year.
Just as most bands don’t wait seven years to deliver a follow-up, most also take their soundchecks before performing. The Toadies, however, let the roadies test their instruments for 10 minutes, starting less than a half hour into the 90-minute set. An hour later, the band aborted “Possom Kingdom,” the one song everyone in the room came to hear, to chastise a couple overly aggressive fans up front.
When the number resumed, it was a success for the same reason the band was even able to have a career at this point: The audience’s enthusiasm helped recapture any momentum that may have been lost.
The night opened with “I Come From the Water,” which fed the crowd’s hunger and got them involved early. The band knew just what the audience wanted – stuff from their breakthrough first album, “Rubberneck” – and gave them plenty of it. Before the evening was through, they’d played nearly every song of that release and a handful of tunes from the other two records.
The warhorses – “Backslider,” “I Burn,” “Away” – hadn’t lost any of their punch. The newer songs, like “Sweetness” and “So Long Lovely Eyes,” were cut from the same cloth and distinguishable only by the smaller number of people were singing along.
After waiting so long, the third-full room was appreciative of everything it got. The anthemic “Tyler” won back any goodwill squandered by the mid-set soundcheck. The band, meanwhile, worked out their sonic frustrations out with an especially angry “Velvet.”
Although most performances were taught readings of the album arrangements, the band took some time to stretch out during “Hell in High Water.” The new number started with an extended instrumental – too calculated for a jam, but looser than anything else played that night – and featured two guitar solos and another lengthy breakdown.
The band wasn’t shy about showing its influences. They snuck a snippet of “Eruption” into the closing of one number, and teased the audience with fragments of ZZ Top, “I Can’t Explain” and “Aqualung.”
Singer Todd Lewis summed up both the band and the crowd in the lyrics to “I Am A Man of Stone”: “You said baby don’t change/and I did not change.”