The 90s were a magical time for rock n’ roll. Rebounding off of the hair-band anthem rock of the 80s with it’s sugar and cherry pie, it took a decidedly darker turn. Grunge dominated the charts, and even the underground was less about the brit inspired synth-rock and more serious minded punk folks who realized with a little extra effort, the usual 2 minute 3-chord headbanger could be fleshed out in to a 4 minute manifesto.
So, album after album, band after band, single after single were churned out. The Toadies rode in on the wave of success bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana had, and put out a song that most every one knows and remembers fondly with “Possum Kingdom”
A righteous song amongst many other righteous songs, its fame and popularity undermine a really interesting fact. That Rubberneck is really one of the best rock albums of the 90s. It didn’t change the game like Nevermind or Ten, it didn’t have the rabid fan base of Superunknown, but it was a superbly written masterpiece that expertly mixed garage, grunge, punk, and even a little anthem rock. Now, the album did well, but is still rarely one that I see on popular “Best Of” lists, so I won’t say it’s underrated, so much as just not remembered often enough.
Even 20 years later, some of the best songs on the album still carry a raw power that some other, more popular groups never matched. “Backslider” with its religious overtones, and, short, crackling guitar lines, the eery love of “Tyler”, the bouncy, upbeat, dancing licks of “I Come From The Water” and the slow-build finale of “I Burn” all shone brightly in the TLA spotlights. Not content to simply play the album with a few extras in the encore, The Toadies took the time to play a 2nd set of material that could fill an album on it’s own. Of course, everyone there knew what they wanted to hear, and the band was met with one of the more enthusiastic crowds of recent memory.
Rubberneck has definitely aged better than some of its contemporaries, as has the band, and there was a jovial spirit running throughout the crowd that danced and bounced through the entire set. Take a look at a photo gallery of the show below, and check out the full setlist after the jump.
The Toadies | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com