Toadies/Helmet (w/ Ume) 08/02/2012
Webster Hall – New York City
Words/Photos/Videos By Jay Porks
I can honestly say that I’ve been waiting to see the Toadies again since Sept 2010, the 1st and only time I saw them live. So when news broke right here at Concert Confessions that they were to co-Headline tour with Helmet I was more than stoked. Helmet too? It’s impossible for one not to be pumped for something like this, and a promise that can hopefully be fulfilled in these next few paragraphs-we’ll try and find out how exactly the opening band Ume is actually pronounced. The songs I looked up on YouTube were pretty cool, so we got three solid bands lined up here tonight at Webster Hall for the 75th Edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. Let’s hope there are no former members of the Cro-Mags here, I don’t want to get stabbed or anything. Doors are set to open at 6PM and Ume suppose to go on at 6:45.. I think it’s Ladies Night here at Webster Hall so I wouldn’t be surprised if they push us scum rockers out by 11 or so. Anyway, let’s roll.
Got a 32oz soda at the ferry because Mayor Bloomberg can kiss my ass. It wasn’t until I got in the line outside Webster Hall, 20 minutes til doors open that my bladder decided it was annoyed by the mass intake of beverage and let me tell you folks, that was the longest 20 minutes of my life. The only Starbucks near by had an “out of order” sign on the bathroom. As I stand around they open a door and I sneak a peak at the set times for tonight: Ume: 6:45, Helmet: 7:45, Toadies: 9:15. They let us in about 6:15, I find my way upstairs so I can lean on the rail and take some sweet pictures. Notice not a lot of people up here
The Austin trio scampered on stage at 6:45 and started things off with “The Conductor”. Boy were they loud. The ferocious guitar playing of Lauren Larsen led the way, powering through each song without a break in the heavy. The room isn’t even half full, but the people here are rocking out to no extent, this writer included.
All their songs have this ‘smash you in the face’ type aggression, like an angry Dinosaur Jr-the distortion was all I’ve ever asked for in a band, the drumming was sexy as hell. After “Chase It Down” had me sold mid-set, I started to wonder why someone didn’t take the time out of their day to make this band a Wikipedia page, I got their names(first names anyway) from their Facebook page, Rachael on drums, Eric on bass. All killed it… They’re from Austin so they’d be a perfect band to open up for the Meat Puppets on a tour(wearing my Pups tee, of course).
Being an earlier show (with Helmet due on 745 and Toadies at 915), they unfortunately were only able to get into seven songs..but with they time they had they were able to deliver everything the early arrivals could have asked for. They went off a little after 7PM leaving me wanting more.
The buzz outside while taking in a cigarette was “can’t believe the Toadies are closing this show”. I’m just happy to have two cool bands co-headlining a tour, not gonna nit-pick the order here. Then I got a text from a buddy that said “I’m shocked they played before the Toadies”. I headed back in and at 7:45ish Helmet began what was to be a little over an hour of punching me in the temples with riffs. I hadn’t been deafened like that in a while, come on now the last show this guy attended was Summerland. Helmet has some great banter, they were joking on superfans who ask them to “play b-sides from like 1990”, also mentioned that this show was earlier due to some sort of “disco” happening afterwards. The aforementioned club night. As I’m laughing at this dudes funny commentary, I get a text from Pam, she’s outside. Sweet. Pam is the one who got me to see the Toadies in the first place in a Cake for Toadies ticket trade off and it was so worth it. So now we’re headed back upstairs (Helmet isn’t deafening me any less by me being in a hallway), and one of the security guards is giving Pam a hard time so I’m just turn to dude and say “She’s with me, it’s cool”, and it worked. With the likes of Maura Johnston from the Village Voice in attendance, confidence can go along way with “Wilma’s Rainbow” as a stellar background soundtrack.
We grab drinks, 10 bucks for a Jack and Diet in a dixie cup. As we’re paying for the drinks, Helmet is not letting up and Pam (who’s in the building for about 10 minutes) turns to me and says “This band is pretty rocking” or something to that extent. Hell she knows less about the band then I do, I know “Unsung”. Man do I love that song, it’s such an important song in the canon of 90’s Rock & Roll tunes.
Well, rolling near 9 o’clock the last song they played was “In the Meantime”, leaving us Unsungless. No one seemed to care but me, as between sets I ran out for a smoke and saw a bunch of Helmet tee shirted folk talking, then turn towards the door and see people just arriving with printed out tickets-I guess only here to see the Toadies.
Two totally different atmospheres in the room as I returned to my spot. The Helmet tee shirts sort of drifted towards the back of the room, and the few fellows wearing plaid shirts made their way up front. Toadies came out promptly at 9:15 and kicked things off with some “Heel” action, followed by “Backslider” and “I Come From The Water”
and that place was jumping. The last time I saw this band, I said something to the effect of “where have the Toadies been?”. Well, those questions were answered in an interview with Clark Vogeler over at AQ, and then this past Tuesday they released a new record called “Play.Rock.Music.”
I admit I have yet to grab the new album but I know they played “Summer of the Strange” off the new release, and that song is a keeper. They say the NSFW music video is pretty cool. The room was really settling in now, not many people seemed to have left after Helmet by the way everyone was fist pumping during songs like “Sweetness” and “Waterfall”. That man Clark Vogeler over there is tearing up this place-bouncing feedback off his amp Scott Lucas style really gets my juices flowing, I love that stuff. At like 10 o clock, I turn to Pam and tell her I’m gonna head to the other side to catch some pictures from different angles. “Song I Hate” was just ending, so what do you know I’m over here experimenting angles with my camera when I hear that “Possum Kingdom” riff. Okay, let’s roll film.
That version of Possum Kingdom I got at Gramercy in 2010 on video with heads bouncing in front of me needed to be trumped. And if you check
below above, it has been in terms of quality.
After that they jumped into “Mister Love” and after that it’s 10:23 so Lewis says that since they’re pressed for time sort of, they’re not gonna do the run off stage for a minute thing and come back for an encore, instead just saying they had two more to play. “Rattlers Revival” kicked off the “encore” in fine fashion. Then, all of a sudden there’s four drums on stage and one of the dudes from Helmet along with the drummer from Ume are on stage to help out on this one. I turned and said “What is this Applied Science or something?”, of course making a 311 reference. Then, Lewis, messing with my fragile emotions teases the first few chords of “Unsung” and looks up into this window upstairs on the side of the stage where the lead singer of Helmet is at the window, flipping the bird to everyone on stage. So after all the jokes “I Burn” was the last song played and they headed off stage at 10:32. Not a soul left unsatisfied.