July 12, 2006

Toad the Wet Sprocket: Summer tour dates & selected songs

Toad the Wet Sprocket is out on the road again! Yes, you heard me right. If you remember them from the ’90s (or even if the name is brand-new to you) you should try and catch them on tour. I cannot begin to articulate into words the extent and the depth of my love for Toad The Wet Sprocket throughout my teen years, and let’s be honest – right up to today. They have definitely made a few of my desert island discs (but don’t ask me to pick which ones. Can I make a Toad mix to take along?).

I know the name of the band is silly (from Monty Python), but don’t let it stop you if you’ve never discovered this Santa Barbara foursome that has been making music together since their wee high-school days.

I gave them a spin the other day and they still sound as fresh and listenable and full-of-goodness as they ever did. Some of the really early stuff sounds kind of, well — late ’80s, but they were still in high school when they recorded that for the most part. It’s better than anything I made in high school, personally. All their mid-’90s stuff is very warm and rich-sounding pop, heavy on harmonies, with well-written lyrics often aching with vulnerability (as we all did in those years).

Oh, Matt Nathanson is opening a few of the West Coast shows.

July 13: Westbury, New York (North Fork Theater; w/Big Head Todd)
July 14: Hyannis, Mass. (Cape Cod Melody Tent; w/Big Head Todd)
July 15: Cohasset, Mass. (South Shore Music Circus; w/Big Head Todd)
July 16: Atlantic City, New Jersey (Borgata Music Box; w/Big Head Todd)
July 18: Cleveland, Ohio (Tower City Amphitheater; w/Big Head Todd)
July 19: Columbus, Ohio (Promowest Pavilion; w/Big Head Todd)
July 20: Cincinatti, Ohio (Moonlight Gardens; w/Glen Phillips solo)
July 21: St. Louis, Missouri (Live on the Landing; w/Big Head Todd)
July 22: Council Bluff, Iowa (Star Cove; w/Glen Phillips solo)
July 23: Kansas City, Missouri (Uptown Theater; with LUCE & Sister Hazel)
July 27: Santa Barbara, CA (Marjorie Luke Theater – Rape Crisis Center Benefit)
Aug. 9: Eagle, Idaho (Eagle Knoll Winery; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 10: Spokane, Wash. (The Big Easy; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 11: Veneta, Ore. (Secret House Vineyard; w/Big Head Todd)
Aug. 13: Arlington, Wash. (River Meadows Park; w/Big Head Todd)
Aug. 14: Seattle, Wash. (The Moore Theatre; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 16: Saratoga, Calif. (Mountain Winery; w/Big Head Todd)
Aug. 17: Saratoga, Calif. (Mountain Winery; w/Big Head Todd)
Aug. 18: Reno, Nev. (Hawkins Amphitheater at Bartley Ranch)
Aug. 19: Santa Ana, Calif. (Galaxy Theatre; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 21: Los Angeles, Calif. (Mayan Theatre; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 22: Cabazon, Calif. (Key Club at Morongo; w/Matt Nathanson)
Aug. 23: San Diego, Calif. (Humphrey’s; w/Big Head Todd)

If you want to heed me and give them a shot (and oh, how you should), I’ve tried to narrow down a few of my favorite selections here from each of their albums. There is SO MUCH MORE than the radio hits “Walk On The Ocean” and “Fall Down”:

Know Me (especially the intro)
Covered in Roses (a look at fame; building cadences, drum-marching beat)

PALE (1990)
Liars Everywhere (melancholy little two minutes of perfection)
Jam (TTWS takes a shot at the same lyrical ground that Pearl Jam covered with “Daughter” – that is, if you can understand through the early-’90s-mumble)

FEAR (1991)
Nightingale Song (tambourines & sublime harmonies, with fantastic lyrics like “We might be different but our hearts won’t lie“)
I Will Not Take These Things For Granted (“How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry?” A very simple and pure love song)

Crowing (This is a wonderful song, but now it makes me chuckle in a self-effacing way for the dozens of time I listened to it my sophomore year of high school over a certain high-drama relationship)
Windmills (A song that somehow perfectly captures its subject matter. I can see a hillside of windmills in my head whenever I hear this. “We go side by side, laugh until it’s right“)

IN LIGHT SYRUP (rarities/b-sides, 1995)
Brother (this is a phenomenal song, it is impossible to not smile when I hear this. One of the few few songs written about a brother that’s not lame or melodramatic)
Good Intentions (I think this one somehow ended up on the “Friends” soundtrack, sheer pop goodness)

COIL (1997)
Whatever I Fear (I had forgotten how much I liked this final release by Toad, this song is a great example)
Throw It All Away (a song to celebrate the simple joys in life; “Tear up the calendar you bought, throw the pieces to the sky . . . Confetti fallin’ down like rain, like a parade to usher in your life.”)

Take a listen and let’s chat about Toad.

Related links:
Toad the Wet Sprocket show from Sony Studios in 1995
from the Live Music Archive, in mp3 format.

Solo Glen Phillips show from Jammin’ Java in D.C., 8/30/05
from the Live Music Archive, in mp3 format.

New live Toad album is out from circa 1992

Glen blogs too!

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  • I just saw them during this tour a week ago, and it was a great show. I, too, was a big fan of them in high school, college & beyond (I loved, loved, loved “Pale”). Though, I haven’t listened to them much at all in recent years. They sounded great live, and breaking out my old CDs, their songs still hold up.

    So, even though my brother’s reaction to them in high school was “eh…they’re catchy, I guess,” people should really give them a try.

    Caitlin — July 12, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

  • I like this original Windmills version, but I also like the version Glen did with Nickel Creek on the Mutual Admiration Society cd

    torres#3 — July 12, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

  • Thanks for all these songs! I was never into them when they were popular but I’ve been wanting to check them out for awhile now.

    Susan M — July 12, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

  • i started listening to toad with fear…so thanks for the earlier stuff. i too listened to crowing repeatedly, and play it when i want to torture myself down memory lane.

    Anonymous — July 12, 2006 @ 7:28 pm

  • i have my tickets to the show in kansas city (you missed listing a bunch of dates.) and i couldnt be more excited. its toad, a mini glen acoustic set, sister hazel and luce! i dont think it can get much better!

    Don't Need Anything — July 12, 2006 @ 7:52 pm

  • Thanks Don’t Need Anything-

    I’ve updated those! Sounds like an awesome show in Kansas City.

    heather — July 12, 2006 @ 9:44 pm

  • Wow, they’re actually coming to my neck of the woods. Nobody I like ever plays near here. I might have to just get tickets!

    Phil — July 12, 2006 @ 11:50 pm

  • I still think the Dulcinea was an underrated gem of a record. When my grunge friends weren’t around, I listened to it quite a lot by myself, even if I would have denied it at the time.

    It’s nice to be old enough to admit liking whatever the hell I like nowadays. And I like that record. :)

    Chad — July 13, 2006 @ 12:24 am

  • You should check out the Acoustic Dance Party EP they put out. It’s a nice set of some of their “hits” acoustic and in a couple of cases live tracks.

    I remember buying the CD in the mid ’90s in Circuit City. That seems so long ago now….

    It’s not on ITUNES, but it looks like you can buy it used on Amazon.

    Song list:

    1. Something’s Always Wrong
    2. Stupid
    3. Nanci
    4. Walk on the Ocean
    5. Fall Down

    szg — July 13, 2006 @ 6:57 am

  • Toad is so awesome. Missed them in Indy this year due to financial issues, but I simply love that band. They are a great band to fall in love to… I came across a mixed cd last night that I had made for my girlfriend, and it had 3 TTWS songs on it! Great stuff.

    Dusty — July 13, 2006 @ 7:14 am

  • We saw Glen on his own last summer, he was great. Amazingly talented person. There were only like 25 people in the audience, which was kind of sad, but very very intimate. And, in addition to his new songs, he played acoustic versions of most of our favorite toad songs, as well.

    Spill The Beans — July 13, 2006 @ 8:32 am

  • love toad, they are coming to st. louis in a week and I plan to be there….having trouble downloading the music…anyone else?

    Kev in St. louis

    Anonymous — July 13, 2006 @ 10:34 am

  • hi Kev, et al

    EZArchive (the file server which is anything but EZ) is down this morning. The files should work if you try back a bit later.

    heather — July 13, 2006 @ 10:40 am

  • It hurts so badly to not be able to see them in St. Lou. They came through in ’03 and I could not find a single person to go on the two hour trip to see them. Now due to such short notice I am unable to go because I’m working. Dammit.

    Just the sight of their tour dates raised every hair on my arms.

    My top 5:
    1. All I Want
    2. Crazy
    3. Little Heaven
    4. Come Down
    5. Something’s Always Wrong

    Thanks to you Heather, I will post a TTWS tribute on my blog as well. Thanks for the link to the tour dates, but I’m a day late/buck short.

    bryce — July 13, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  • thank you

    kevinstl — July 13, 2006 @ 10:56 am

  • Hmm, for some reason I didn’t think Matt was opening at the Seattle show. Knowing this makes me happy seeing as his set is at the same time as Guster’s at ACL Festival.

    mel... — July 13, 2006 @ 9:32 pm

  • I saw Toad in Indy earlier this summer … it’s the fourth or fifth time I’ve seen them, including about three times since they “broke up” a/k/a stopped making new records. They sound great every time. They never made a bad record and knew when to quit. Just a phenomenal show.

    Anthony Chez — July 18, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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