Toadies songs are very recognizable. They have a certain punch to them, a riff, a howl from lead vocalist Vaden Todd Lewis, that cannot be replicated. It seems that fans of the band and the grunge era from the 90’s understand that, as they continue to fill clubs to capacity throughout the country to get a taste of nostalgia.
Toadies were never a band that was made for the charts or for general MTV and radio play; they always had more a grassroots following. That is not to say that they didn’t achieve mainstream success, however. Their 1994 debut album Rubberneck is an absolute time capsule of an album that shows exactly how music was trending in that era. Heavy distortion and lyrics filled with angst helped catapult the album and the genre to new heights. Rubberneck yielded Toadies several hit singles including “Possum Kingdom”, “Away” and “I Come From the Water.” The Texas based band have released five studio albums in a two-decade span with multiple different members, but it was the foundation that Rubberneck laid that helps the band continue to sell out shows and continue on—where as many acts from that generation had faded.
Which brings us to a Friday, August 14th at the House of Blue in Downtown, San Diego. An often-rowdy bunch of concertgoers had barely filled the club halfway when opening act Fuel hit the stage. But by the time the lights dimmed and Toadies emerged with 2013’s “Rattler’s Revival,” the club was swollen with grunge-era fans eager and excited to get a glimpse of a band they grew up on. Vaden Todd Lewis sounded exactly has you would hope he would as he belted out songs from a very Rubberneck heavy set. He isn’t an exotic or flamboyant front man; he plays his songs and plays them well instead of running around the stage to trying to hype up onlookers.
The San Diego club was revved up by the time the band launched into “Possum Kingdom.” With one of the most recognizable opening riffs of any song from the 90’s—the crowd immediately took their energy up a notch and screamed in unison the chant of, “Do you wanna die?” It was a powerful performance of an important song in music’s history.
As we drift further and further from the 90’s era, it becomes more apparent how important that generation and its musical influence was. Toadies cemented themselves as a band that will always be in that discussion of “Bands from the 90’s” and that connotation is something they should pride themselves on.
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