The Toadies

The Toadies

The Toadies

People in Planes, Rabbits With Glasses

House of Blues, Orlando, FL • November 21, 2008

All refugees of grunge, dig out your old flannels and angst because The Toadies have quietly reunited. With a brand new album, No Reservations, under their belt and seven years worth of dormancy making them antsy, the band — whose 1994 debut, Rubberneck, may have graced your record collection during the Clinton years — are on the road and bringing grunge back. Hallelujah!

The Toadies

Jen Cray
The Toadies

Rabbits With Glasses, an Orlando rock act since 2004, lay the foundation for an evening steeped in the music of Rock’s past. A mainstream radio-ready quintet, the band builds its easy melodies atop a foundation of slightly pscyhedelic grooves. At the forefront stands Jamie Sparks — a soft haired, sweet faced front man with an unpredictable power in his vocal chords. Their set ends as they just seem to be warming up, and I make a mental note to catch them again in the future.

Gareth Jones of People in Planes

Jen Cray
Gareth Jones of People in Planes

Gareth Jones, vocalist for South Wales’ People in Planes, has a couple of personalities swallowed up in his gut, and when he sings, they do battle. It’s his vocal prowess as much as the band’s soaring music that brings around a crowd that was otherwise ignorant to their sound. There’s a sexual rawness to Jones when he tackles songs off of the band’s 2006 debut, As Far as the Eye Can See. “Barracuda” heats up the room in a way that some of the newer songs do not. The new material, on this year’s Beyond the Horizon, has a softer polish (thanks to the production of Our Lady Peace vocalist Raine Maida) which I’m still easing my ears into. Hearing these tamer bombs in People in Planes’ arsenal performed live gives them a much needed push. “Pretty Buildings,” “Vampire,” and “Last Man Standing” (with guitarist Peter Roberts taking over on lead vocals) suddenly find a home inside my head, at once combined with the smells, hot lights, and crowd vibes provided inside the packed bottom floor of the House of Blues.

People in Planes are bigger than an opening act. They, and the audience, just haven’t realized it yet.

People in Planes

Jen Cray
People in Planes

Back in the ’90s The Toadies fell between cracks on the sidewalks of Soundgarden, Nirvana, and Alice in Chains. Arriving on the scene a couple years late, they got lumped in with Bush and Silverchair as a second-generation grunge act that was seemingly riding in on the coattails of Kurt Cobain. Following the same formula — murky guitars, howling vocals fraught with angst, and albums borne out of punk rock and metal — they were easy to dismiss, yet they found a modest hit with the song “Possum Kingdom.”

Fourteen years later, the pointless hierarchy of who came first behind us, the band just sounds like good music and a simpler time. The crowd at their Orlando show is hungry for music from a pre-MySpace era, and very quickly a nostalgic mosh pit blossoms. It’s a friendly dance of shoulders and arms that feels more pure than the aggro terror pits of modern times. Crowd surfers smile wide as they get passed over heads, and onstage The Toadies beam with surprise at their newfound validation.

The Toadies

Jen Cray
The Toadies

As authentically old as the band’s new stuff sounds, it’s the old goodies that get the blood pumping, and thankfully they run through almost all of Rubberneck. “Mexican Hairless” and “Backslider” are tossed out immediately in the set, and soon “Quitter” and “Away” follow. The big hits, “I Come From the Water” and “Possum Kingdom,” are saved for those who stay for the whole set and when they are played the audience ignites even brighter.

Vocalist/guitarist Todd Lewis does not have a flashy presence onstage. He doesn’t have shaggy hair to fling about, he doesn’t thrash against his guitar while he bangs out power chords, and he doesn’t stage dive (at least not in Orlando). He stands, steadfast, behind his pair of microphones (one is an old, silver radio mic’ that distorts his voice slightly) and belts out moody rock that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. There’s no need for flash when your voice is strong enough to hold court like his.

At the show as in the car ride home, modernity was breathed into the music of my childhood and I temporarily forgot about my grown-up problems.

To see more photos of this show, and others, go to www.jencray.com.

The Toadies: www.thetoadies.com • People in Planes: www.peopleinplanes.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

  • Soul Understated
    Soul Understated

    Soul Understated was a swizzle stick of jazz, funk, pop with a dash of Radiohead in the delightful DC cocktail.

  • Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu
    Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu

    That Trip We Took With Dad is the debut feature by acclaimed Romanian short film director Anca Miruna Lǎzǎrescu. Generoso Fierro sat down with Lǎzǎrescu during SEEFest to discuss the comedy and drama within the adaptation of her deeply personal family story for the screen.

  • Aware
    Aware

    The Book Of Wind (Glacial Movements). Review by Carl F Gauze.

  • BANG: The Bert Berns Story
    BANG: The Bert Berns Story

    The music biz collides with the mob in this documentary chronicling the fast and dangerous life of legendary ’60s songwriter, producer, record mogul, Bert Berns.

From the Archives