Civic Theater Second Stage, Orlando, FL • May 18, 2000
You never let a lack of equipment stop you from singing in the shower – it sounds so good, and the soap bubbles create a pleasant vibrato. The Toxic Audio crew shower separately, but sound so much better fully clothed and in the round at Civic Theater’s intimate Second Stage. Lead by Bass Master Rene Ruiz, we have a human synth machine pounding out hit after hit after hit. Sometimes, you sort of remember seeing the video on Progressive Video Network (“Groove is in the Heart” or “Turn the Beat Around”). Other times, they pull up the dregs of the 50’s and spit polish them, like the incomprehensible pre-Rasta “Put the Lime in the Coconut.” Best of all, they know your favorite Didn’t Quite Make Dick Clark tune, “I Want a Head Like the Heads on Easter Island.” It’s one thing scat a couple hundred do-be-do- be-do’s a minute, and another to spit out TV theme songs using nothing but your lips and thorax, but most impressive is the always popular, always risky Name Your Song, Name Your Style audience suggestion improv. A dear little old lady requested “High Heaven” as a country song. Sure, you would have done a little Patsy Cline gospel number, but the Toxics improvised a missing classic about a dead cat in the back of a pick up. Ye-Haw!
More than a few songs required a degree of audience participation that grew from sitting politely on stage under mild harassment up to actually tricking several people into fairly weak imitation of a Toxic scat tune. If you have stage fright, use the same method that works with panhandlers – never make eye contact. The show rings with energy and unexpected twists, like “Fifty Ways to Kill Your Lover” (“Hit him with a pan, Jan”) to new and better uses for that dreaded electronic Simon game. It was so cool in 1980, even though it had vacuum tubes.
Toxic exudes the sort of talent that whispers “Destined To Leave Orlando.” See ’em quick, and ask them to stay. Bake cookies, if you think that will keep them down on the farm.