There was an array of Fort Worth folk, from young to old, who came out to ring in the 7th Annual Dia de los Toadies Festival this Saturday at Panther Island Pavilion. With the aptly timed weather transformation this weekend, it was a nice change of pace for the locals to come out in full force to support the beloved Toadies, as well as a myriad of other native Texas (specifically Fort Worthian) artists. It was nice to look around the crowd and see Vans that weren’t being worn ironically and plaid shirts that were actually suitable for the event.
The Saturday show followed an acoustic Friday evening that featured Doug Burr, Rhett Miller, and the Toadies. Due to weather conditions the event was moved to The Shack, which tinged the event with a weathered and worn, light rock hoe down feeling (but in a good way) which begged me to question why more events haven’t been held at the venue. All the acts played with the gusto of a full band, giving the crowd their utmost energy while still providing that sense of genuine intimacy to the smaller crowd that showed up despite the undesirable weather conditions. Rain or shine, true fans gave an outpouring of support for the acoustic set. And Rhett Miller still performed his trademark, over-exaggerated guitar strumming and hip swinging during his solo set.
However, the weather subsided and opened the gates for a full throttle rock festival on Saturday. Starting off the day were local acts Blank-Men and The Longshots, providing two various spectrums of self-described synth-punk and junk-rock, respectively. The Dallas band Somebody’s Darling and another Fort Worth local, Quaker City Nighthawks, fit in well with the rock vibe of the evening while providing that just-needed sense of soul n’ roll. Pleasant Grove carried over the folk-rock of the previous evening, showcasing some new material for the audience. Austin band Residual Kid brought the grime, grunge, and that little bit of youthful garage needed to prepare the audience for an evening of ‘Rubbernecking’. Also out of Austin, Ume’s guitar and distortion-heavy garage-inspired sound closed out a mellow set on the second stage that spoke to to the burgeoning new-age acid-rock genre.
As the sun set and the skyline of Fort Worth appeared, it was hard to ignore the energy of the crowd. The pairing of the Old 97’s and the Toadies may seem random to some, however they showcase the vast differences of the city of Fort Worth while by bringing out music lovers from distinct genres. The Old 97’s set a specific tone for the evening with their mix of country and alt-rock bringing out the best in the crowd. Rhett Miller crooned, “Let’s Get Drunk and Get it On” to a crowd that swooned over his vacillating hips.
This year’s Dia de los Toadies may have been the seventh installation of the event, however it was also marked by the 20th Anniversary Release of the Toadies’ Rubberneck album. With the Fort Worth skyline highlighting the band as they cruised through their set, it was hard not feel a sense of pride and love for a Fort Worth local. When the Toadies began playing their final run-through of the entire dark-rock album, it was hard to ignore the nostalgia of the audience. Men dragged their kids to the front of the stage to get a glimpse of their former selves, while also indoctrinating the next generation of rockers and head bangers. The seemingly die-hard fan base rocked out just as hard as the musicians onstage. But not quite as hard, as the Toadies literally blew out their sound system while performing, “Tyler”, giving fans a chance to sing their hearts out to a treasured Fort Worth band. It was a pleasure to see a seasoned veteran take the stage. While the Toadies powered through their set with the same vigor and voice of a band 15 years younger, they did little chit chat throughout the set list, save for a comment from Todd Lewis. “Thank you most to the fans – y’all have been with us for 20 years, which is unheard of.”
In reality, the only thing heard that evening was pulsing rock reverberating on the backbone of the city skyline, which felt right in line with the heartbeat of Fort Worth.
Thank you to Keep Fort Worth Funky for helping to keep the city up ‘up to funk’ on everything. Ya’ll rock.