Toadies at Star Theater 9/30 @ Star Theater Portland, Portland [30 September]

Toadies at Star Theater 9/30

21:00 - 23:59

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Star Theater Portland
Star Theater • 13 NW 6th Ave • Across From Roseland Theater, Portland, Oregon 97209
The Toadies
Local H

Saturday, September 30, 2017
Star Theater 503-412-9217
13 NW 6th Ave, Portland, OR
9pm (doors open at 8pm). Ages 21 & Over.
$21.00 advance tix from Cascade Tickets.
$25.00 at the door.


«There's a certain uneasiness to the Toadies,» says Vaden Todd Lewis, succinctly and accurately describing his band--quite a trick. The Texas band is, at its core, just a raw, commanding rock band. Imagine an ebony sphere with a corona that radiates impossibly darker, and a brilliant circular sliver of light around that. It's nebulous, but strangely distinct--and, shall we say
incorrect. Or, as Lewis says, «wrong.»
«Things are done a little askew [in the Toadies],» he says, searching for the right words. «There's just something wrong with it that's just really cool… and unique in a slightly uncomfortable way.»
This sick, twisted essence was first exemplified on the band's 1994 debut, Rubberneck (Interscope). An intense, swirling vortex of guitar rock built around Lewis's «wrong» songs--like the smash single «Possum Kingdom,» subject to as much speculation as what's in the Pulp Fiction briefcase, it rocketed to platinum status on the strength of that and two other singles, «Tyler» and «Away.» Its success was due to the Toadies' organic sound and all-encompassing style, which they aimed to continue on their next album.
Perhaps in keeping with the uneasy vibe, that success didn't translate to label support when the Toadies submitted their second album, Feeler. Perhaps aptly, things in general just went wrong. It was the classic, cruel story: the label didn't 'get' it. «These were the songs we played live,» says Rez. «It was pretty eclectic… different styles of heavy rock music--some fast, heavy punk rock songs and some slower, kinda mid-tempo stuff. I've never really been able to figure out what the beef was.»
«We got approval for a record,» says Lewis, «and somewhere in the process of handing over the masters to get mixed, it got unapproved. So we went back to the drawing board.»
Eventually some of the Feeler tracks made it onto Hell Below/Stars Above--a sophomore offering that came seven years after Rubberneck. «It was a very weird, trying time,» says Lewis, who didn't see the next blow--the sudden departure of bassist Lisa Umbarger--coming. «We went out on tour, and
immediately the band split up,» he laughs sardonically. «We kinda shot ourselves in the foot.» They released a live album, Best of Toadies: Live from Paradise, and it was over.
Coming out of the Toadies, Lewis, guitarist Clark Vogeler and drummer Mark Reznicek were disillusioned. Vogeler went to work as a film editor, Rez hooked up with the country-western band Eleven Hundred Springs. Lewis initially thought, «Fuck this whole business. I'm gettin' out. I just wanted to do anything else.»
Toadies fans, though accepting, stuck with them, often inquiring as to the band's activities. Says Lewis, «People just asked me „So, what are you doin' now?“ Although he'd been „foolin' around“ with Rev. Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley, he answered, „I don't know. Nothin'. This, that and the other.
Workin' around the house, workin' in the garage, just toolin' around.“ Soon it occurred to him that music was all he wanted to do. „I'm a musician. That's what I do, and I'm not happy not doing it.“
Lewis and Bentley formed the Burden Brothers in 2002 and released a slew of EPs, two albums and a DVD while touring profusely. „I took some of the lessons I learned in the business and took off with that band,“ says Lewis,
»and tried to apply that knowledge." That's how he wound up with Texas indie label Kirtland Records.
Meantime, «Possum Kingdom» never left the airwaves, enjoying constant rotation at major modern rock stations. Fans clamored for a Toadies reunion, which Lewis, Vogeler and Reznicek discovered wasn't such a remote possibility. «The band never went all the way away;» says Lewis. They regrouped in 2006 for a couple of sold-out shows around St. Patrick's Day, and again the next year for the same thing. In August 2007, when personnel changes with the Burden Brothers resulted in that band going on hiatus, Lewis began writing.
«I was pissed off again and wanted to keep goin',» he says. «I didn't know what I was writing, right out of the gate, but… it was just coming out very „Toadies.“
Lewis called Rez and Vogeler and asked if they were interested in making another record. They were--and the Toadies officially reconvened, signing with Kirtland and recording No Deliverance with David Castell (Burden Brothers, Blue October) at Fort Worth Sound in Fort Worth, and Music Lane in Austin. Lewis says the band has gone for a „bare knuckle“ sound, amping up the psychotic stomp heard on Rubberneck and Hell Below… on the grinding, relentless title track as well as the seething, death-of-a-romance gem „So Long Lovey Eyes“ and the towering, sludgy „Man of Stone.“ The upshot is a taut, exhilarating listen that is quintessentially Toadies.
Lewis is stoked on „the freshness of this new record. I wrote it between first week of August and, what? About a month ago. Getting back into this, back into the feel of the Toadies, is cool. Lewis, Rez, Vogeler and new bass player Doni Blair (Hagfish, Only Crime) are optimistic that their indie incarnation will succeed, thanks to the support of their devout fans--and equally supportive label. “The music industry has changed so much,» says Vogeler. «A band like us can be on an independent label and still get the music out to the people who want to hear it.»
The Toadies are now free to pursue success on their own merit and muscle. And things are starting off nicely: On August 2, The Toadies will play Lollapalooza and, following the album's release, they'll embark on a nationwide tour offering old fans and those to come--as he recently told SPIN, «Balls. A ton of balls.»
«Getting back to the bare knuckles element of the Toadies,» continues Lewis, «is what I really enjoy, after being away from it for so long.» Vogeler and Rez concur. «I'm here and still doin' it,» furthers Vogeler, «because the music's good.» And Rez proclaims in his thick Texas drawl, «The Toadies are back in business.»
And suddenly, everything wrong is right.


Local H will release their seventh studio album, titled Hallelujah! I'm a Bum on September 18th through Slimstyle Records. The 17-track, double-album was produced by Chicago metal guru Sanford Parker (Yakuza, Bloodiest, Pelican) and showcases the pioneering, two-man band rocking harder than ever. The album will be available digitally, on CD and on limited-edition double-vinyl. The first leg of Local H's U.S. tour begins on release day with a hometown gig at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago. Full itinerary below.
Video of Local H in the studio with Sanford Parker at Engine Studios, set to a track from the new album — «Night Flight to Paris» — can be seen here:

Hallelujah! I'm a Bum is an epic concept record that sees frontman Scott Lucas setting his sights on the deeply divided political climate that exists in the U.S. and around the world, using the Windy City as a backdrop to sardonically comment on how this polarization personally impacts people. From the El-train inspired «Blue Line,» in which Lucas sings «It's getting hard to realize / A sense of self in other eyes / It's us and them» to «Another February,» which uses the city's brutal winters to paint a picture of anxious desperation within a family to the Peter Gun-riff of «Paddy Considine,» a song that mocks the middle-aged Travis Bickles and the hotheaded «conspiracy of toughs» roaming the streets of his hometown's neighborhoods, the album examines how the national political discord affects people within their communities, their neighborhoods and even within their relationships.

«The last couple of records I've been involved with have been pretty inward-looking and navel gaze-y,» Lucas confesses. «And with so much going on around us — to keep making records like that is not only kind of embarrassing, but borderline irresponsible. On the other hand it's still rock and roll — and no one wants to hear a bullshit polemic from me. The trick was to make the global as personal as possible and make it something everyone could relate to — regardless of who you vote for. We're on the same side we've always been on — the people's. Fuck — I don't think a band can get much more blue collar than us.....unfortunately.»

Lucas often uses hot and cold to illustrate the divide. «Feed A Fever» skewers FOX News specifically and irresponsible media in general, while «Cold Manor,» the album's first single, addresses giving in to cynicism and «checking out» politically, while the ruling class uses that apathy to push through its agenda.

A dog theme runs throughout the album, making it a fitting companion to the band's widely praised 1998 concept album Pack Up the Cats, which earned a spot in SPIN magazine's top 20 albums of that year. Hallelujah! I'm a Bum is Local H's first album of new material since 2008's critically acclaimed 12 Angry Months, for which the Chicago Tribune named them «Chicagoans of the Year,» more than a decade after their breakthrough hit «Bound for the Floor» ruled the Modern Rock charts.

Despite a four-year hiatus from recording, Local H has kept busy with two releases in the interim — Local H: The Island Years (a quasi-greatest hits that is part of Universal Music's ICON series) and Local H's Awesome Mix-Tape #1, an EP of covers. And, they've continued to bring their gut-quaking live show to audiences all over the country. In 2010, they put together the «6 Angry Records Tour,» during which the duo — Lucas covers both guitar and bass through an extra pick up in his guitar while drummer Brian St. Clair pounds out the rest of the sound — allowed a fan to blindly select the name of one of their six studio albums from a hat at the start of the show and then played the album chosen on the spot that night. To complement that, they embarked on «The Singles Tour: All the Hits All Night» in 2011, playing only songs they had released as singles, a contrarian move to the «play a classic album in its entirety» fad that was just heating up. Lucas has also spent time performing and recording country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal with his seven-piece solo band, Scott Lucas & the Married Men, who guest on this album on the country-western sounding track «Look Who's Walking on Four Legs Again.»
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