“Are we having super chill acoustic fun?” Vaden Todd Lewis asked the few hundred fans standing before him.
The affirmative, enthusiastic response from the audience inside the Shack at Panther Island Pavilion Friday night spurred him onward, continuing the first evening of the eighth annual Dia de Los Toadies, the Fort Worth rock band’s annual two-day festival.
Since 2008, the band has split its event into two different moods: quiet and loud, with the first night being a stripped-down affair, and the second day and night being a more straightforward affair, with plenty of volume and more acts on two stages.
But this being the Toadies, even a quiet night still packs a punch.
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Friday’s set also doubled as the release party for Heretics, Toadies’ latest studio effort and which was performed in its entirety. (The festival continues Saturday outdoors at Panther Island Pavilion, with performances from Toadies, Burden Brothers, Local H, Holy Moly, Gollay, Sealion and more.)
The dozen tracks on Heretics are pared back — Rattler’s Revival still has fangs, they just aren’t immediately evident, while Tyler is plenty menacing without its signature distortion and electric guitar growl — and Lewis, along with his bandmates, clearly enjoy presenting songs of their own and others (Blondie’s Heart of Glass was aired out) in this fashion.
If nothing else, on Friday night, the Shack was the only place on Earth where you could hear Backslider while sipping a Martin House Bockslider.
Toadies were joined by Sarah Jaffe — literally, as she popped on and off the stage to perform background vocals, and also as an opening act, all by her lonesome.
As Jaffe noted, it’s been quite some time since she’s appeared locally as a solo act. She took the opportunity to dust off some tunes that don’t often turn up in her setlists these days, like the still-lovely Summer Begs, as well as Santa Monica, a song she explained was written a dozen years ago, when Jaffe was just another hungry, unknown musician, playing open-mike nights in Deep Ellum.