Hailing from Austin and coming with a number of positive recommedations from the area, The Lions pulled into the Yellow Friday to open for Texas institution, the Toadies. I'll be the first to tell anyone, I never really listened to the Toadies. I heard "Possum Kingdom" in college and that's really all I remember. I didn't even know they were a Texas band until a few years back. It didn't occur to me that "Tyler" was a song about the town by the same name. I just never bought the records and was listening to something completely different about ten years ago. As was made fairly apparent to me recently, the Toadies still carry quite a bit of weight. I initially passed on the show, but then after finding out from Leroy last weekend that The Lions were opening, I found a spot on the list. I had to see it.
Yeah, I realize that most people don't go for opening acts. I don't care. Mag Seven was playing as well. And they killed it.
I waited patiently after Mag's set...wandering around and waiting for The Lions to takeover. And then...
When The Lions hit the stage, the place ignites. Now, for a crowd that, for the most part, had never heard their material, the response was immediate and significant. The horns come up and as you scan the heads of the crowd, all moved in unison with an uneasy tension. Some raised their hands above their head and began clapping in time. Lead singer Matt slithers to the microphone and begins wailing in a manic state through the lyrics of "No Generation." My eyes peel back and mouth drops open.
The boyish energy, the jumps, the spitting, the headbangs, the guitar poses--yes, this was what Leroy was speaking of. The grooves were cut from a sturdy teflon, the guitars zipped up in denim and the vocals wrapped in dingy, stinky concert tee from 1972.
Of course, for a pea-minded Yellow crowd, this kinda stuff needs no hard sell. I hear a guy to the left say, "These guys are actually pretty good," with both obvious surprise and delight. Matt's onstage dancing and nervous outbursts captivated the crowd.About four songs into the set, I could the feel the crowd becoming a little tired. I mean, yeah, they're there to see the Toadies. This was especially evident as you left the front fifty feet of the stage area. Angry Tim just gave me a thumb pointed downward with a fart noise, but he's distrustful of anything that comes with an endorsement. Mayhem seemed to just agree with the strong opinions of others. Seems I pumped them up too much to others as I was getting met with more animosity than any sort of constructive criticisms aside from the fairly unanimous "they're trying to be like Rage Against the Machine" comments. And Rage was just trying to be like the MC5 and Public Enemy. Whatever, all artists bite. And, as a fan of Rage, I didn't hear it except a segment in a song where Matt begin speaking loudly about the "American Dream." I guess anyone opens their mouth and starts talking politics, it'll be a race to be the first to mutter "Zack de la Rocha." Probably lucky no one drew Daltrey comparisons because they have a song called "No Generation."
As they neared the second half of their set, it was fairly apparent they were wearing on the crowd. Then, Matt made a joking comment about, "Well, I guess we could always just play __king Toadies songs. Anyone wanna hear 'Tyler'?" Then, all those they had befriended in the first half, seemed to turn on them. After songs, the applause was dimmed and boos began to surface louder and louder. How quickly they switch on you when you make a light comment on the headliner. Who cares, they rocked.
I think somewhere, The Lions rocked the show off course. I heard two seperate instances where someone had to tell someone, "It's not that kinda show, dude/bro." It's like The Lions got everyone fired up and ready to fight and then Toadies fans had to remind them, "Hey, this is a lovefest. No fighting." I found that really peculiar that people came out of their mind and had to be reminded, "Dude, it ain't that kinda show." I guess The Lions tend to split crowds in two and turn them on each other. Now that's a show.
The Toadies played to club that absolutely adored them. I sang what lyrics I knew. After the show, I passed by the merch table where I purchased a shirt and showed my gratitude to the band in which the drummer cooly said, "Much obliged, man. Much obliged."
Next week, another head-slaying Austin monster comes to town in a supporting role: The Sword...who will be opening for Clutch. I guess, once again, I'll be the prick that cheers for the opening band and then everyone will tell me they sound too much like Black Sabbath. Eh, you can't win when you have little understanding of the music. Can't hate me for being adventurous. The Sword kill.They're absolute monsters of rock. I've taken them on the mountain with me and I can attest to their rock greatness. Nothing like flying down a steep face with "Winter Wolves" exploding your ear drums into dust.Dale, L'roy and Sarah, thanks for the strong recommendation on The Lions. They did you proud up here in the Yellow. Fun time.
I'm renaming Tucker and Jackson. They'll be Bingo and Buster respectively. No elaboration coming later. That's all you need to know.