Written by Samuel Barker
Dec 13, 2007 at 08:00 PM
ImageMy, how the times keep changing. It does not seem that long ago that we packing into the Aerial Theater to see the Toadies perform their last show here in Houston. Now, some 6 years later, the Toadies were back for the second time in 2 years at the same venue, now renamed for a new cell phone company.

This time, however, the band was not just doing some one-off Texas dates, they were doing a small tour and getting the blood pumping through the veins once again. After the wait between Rubberneck and Hell Below/Stars Above, it seems about time for the band to do something and it would be right on schedule. Perhaps we could see something new, it would be nice.

The band took the stage and kicked into the customary 1-2 punch of Mexican Hairless and Mister Love. When I saw the band 11 years ago in Beaumont, this was the exact same opening and it remains just as powerful. The opening screams from vocalist/guitarist Todd Lewis remains just as haunting and the explosion of the verse of Mister Love cannot help but get the audience worked up and ready to rock out.

When a band shuts it down for a few years, returns the prior year and then comes back again, normally, the audience can be pretty sparse. The novelty is gone, but with the Toadies, there is no novelty, so the rock n’ roll honesty and pure power of the music keeps everyone enthralled and the prospect of walk-up tickets a dream.

Just like the final shows from 2001, Lisa Umbarger is still in retirement, but nothing except the face is missed from the stage. Musically, the band is as sharp as ever. Lewis kept his chops up by fronting The Burden Brothers for the past few years.

The band didn’t just touch on their 2 major releases, they also pushed back into the catalog to break out a 3-song set from their first indie release, Pleather. Very little of their material was left untouched as the band delivered a good 90-minutes of rock gems.

Classics like Possum Kingdom, Tyler, Little Sin and Backslider peppered the set and made the night fly by far too quickly. There was rarely a lull in the action and the audience, as well as this reviewer, were very happy to have shared such a great evening with such a powerful, important rock band.

ImageBefore the Toadies took the stage, Austin, TX’s Lions played. I had never had an opportunity to see these guys live before. I’d listened to some of their myspace tracks and was not overly thrilled to see them.

Well, let me say, this is a band where slick production and over-used compression gives a horrible first impression. Nowhere on the stage was the clean, crisp, ball-less sound I heard on the mp3s, instead, a powerhouse rock band brought a killer mix of MC5 politics and crunch mixed with the best southern rock influences you could find. It sound like the late-60s were reborn on the stage, complete with killer mustache from bassist T-Rev.

The entire band looked like something from a time capsule. They were the embodiment of rock n’ roll in appearance and sound. There was nothing premeditated to the vibe. They were dudes who picked up their guitars, fuzz them out and bitch about the man! What else do you want from a rock n’ roll band?

The first band of the night was Max Cady. While showing some promise with solid rock riffs, they were more of the silly, misguided masculinity of the glam rock era. Unfortunately they lacked a lot of eloquence. The case being their song “for the ladies”, Fresh, Hot and Delicious! Using words from a corner store pizza box is not the best way to score groupies.