It’s hard to believe that Toad the Wet Sprocket have been in existence in some form since 1986, even harder to believe they haven’t put out any new material since Coil in 1997. Luckily for fans, that’s about to change. Glen and the gang are currently testing out new material on the road for their forthcoming album New Constellation. The album is mostly done and the band is planning on a Kickstarter campaign to ease the burden of distribution, since they are currently without a label. We were lucky enough to hear four new tracks that will probably end up on the final product. Along with those new tracks, Toad played material that spanned their whole back catalog, even songs off their b-side and rarities album, In Light Syrup. Aside from their new material, the bulk of the night’s songs came off my second favorite album Dulcinea, “Syrup” being my favorite, even though it isn’t a “real” album per se.
The evening started out with Toad’s keyboardist and tour manager Jonathan Kingham doing a solo acoustic set which ended with a Bobby Brown cover of “Every Little Step” and an original “Grace,” during which Glen came out and lent vocal support. Jonathan is quite the quirky artist when he’s not behind the keyboard or playing lap steel or mandolin. He appeared to soak up the experience onstage and is all too happy to give it back to the audience.
After a quick turnaround Toad took the stage. Glen made fun of their “rock star” entrance, by saying it was the longest one they’ve done. The night was full of quips like that, mostly directed at the fact the band hasn’t/hadn’t released anything in over sixteen years. The great thing about a Toad show is you get a straight up rock show, no glitz, glamor, or over-the-top BS.
The new material played consisted of the title track, “California Wasted,” “Get What You Want,” and “Is There Anyone Out There?” Each song had a fun energy that harkened back to early Toad. They come across great live and I can only imagine what a fine-tuned final product will sound like. Personal highlights for me other than the two tracks from Syrup included “Crowing” and “Windmills,” as well as the new material of course. Audience highlights seemed to be “Fall Down” and “Walk on the Ocean” to little surprise.
Something’s Always Wrong
Whatever I Fear
Get What You Want
Come Back Down
All I Want
Is There Anyone Out There?
Walk on the Ocean
AUDIENCE OBSERVATIONS: There are several different types of Toad fans and Monday’s show was heavy on more casual fans who only got excited when the big hits were played. It was as if there was a party in the audience and the band wasn’t invited. There were also the more sophisticated Toad fans there which you could see singing along to every tune, but they seemed to be few and far between. The audience was in no way disrespectful to the band, just the people around them at times.