Volume: Dia de los Toadies 4 – Whitewater Amphitheater – New Braunfels, TX – 8/27/11

“So we’ll see you guys next year at number five?” Toadies frontman Vaden Todd Lewis asked the rapturous crowd at the close of their Saturday night set. And with the response, I believe they will. And so brought to a close the fourth installment of Dia de los Toadies, the event the Austin Chronicle dubbed the “Willie’s Picnic for the younger generation”.

I cannot tell a lie, from the moment The Toadies are introduced with the all too familiar at this point “This Is OUR Band, TEXAS!” from MC Scott Beggs, I get a little giddy, possibly emotional. To see this band, who has beaten ALL odds in their 22 years, go from playing to 50 people max at Mad Hatter’s during ’92, get signed, tour America for 2 solid years, sell a million albums without much help from their label (Interscope, I’m staring at you), get the shaft, record an album, shelve the album, record another only to breakup 6 months later, and return as a full time entity with their own thriving festival… it swells me with pride. Now doing all things on their own terms and being successful is the biggest finger to the business that tried to forget them as one can give. And Dia de los Toadies 4 shows a band with no signs of slowing down.

There were two things not lacking in New Braunfels this past Saturday: heat and bands. With Dia (as we will refer to it for the remainder of this article) becoming a bigger brand every year, the caliber of participating artists raises. This was clearly evident with the inclusion of The Sword and The Black Angels this year, two of the bigger up and coming acts in Texas taking part in a very diverse lineup. A standout bill comprised of two of the bigger names from The Toadies hometown of Fort Worth, the Mediterranean flourishes of Whiskey Folk Ramblers and the straightforward pop/alt country leanings of The Orbans,  Austin’s seemingly joyous Quiet Company, Lions offshoot Trashy Charmer, a reunion for Denton’s garage 3 piece Faceless Werewolves, the early 90’s indie ROCK sound of The Couch, and a coming out party for the 101X radio winners Boy + Kite.

Last year I was able to see every band. I hate to report that this year, the 107 temperature won out on me and I had to leave for a bit, causing me to miss Ume and Tornahdo both, but able to return rejuvenated for the rest of the evening. The first half of my day was highlighted with Quiet Company. Dapper in their suits and resisting the heat, QC played with all the poise they demonstrated the night before during their acoustic set. Plugged in they were riveting and disappointingly only playing to a handful of the crowd that would attend. I drove home listening to their new record on repeat, and I can tell you, it will blow your hair back in more ways than one.

The second half of the day, as it was cooling off, presented itself much more fruitful. The Black Angels were as delightful as they were at last year at The Kessler with Black Mountain, with their Texas psychedelic drone every bit as captivating outdoors as in. Fort Worth’s The Orbans hammered out another stellar performance steeped with tracks from last year’s tremendous release, When We Were Wild.

Being the heaviest band to play a Dia festival yet, The Sword appeared right at home on the largely alternative based bill. Their cover of ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses” won over whatever members of the crowd might have been doubtful, almost getting me mowed over on the side stage by Toadies guitarist Clark Vogeler looking like a kid on Christmas morning. Besides The Toadies, this was the band I was most looking forward to, and never do they disappoint.

After a respectable set from The Couch closing out the sidestage, the crowd was primed and ready. It had been a long hot day, and although many people arrived later in the afternoon, the main event was upon us. Launching headfirst into “Velvet”, the Toadies took control and never relinquished, even in the face of technical difficulties – difficulties that would even halt “Possum Kingdom” in its tracks for the only disappointment of the night. But it didn’t last long and after a few scattered items had become airborne, the crowd was appeased by “Backslider” and all was well with the world. Delivering a set made up of every track from Rubberneck (breaking out a personal favorite “Quitter” for the first time in at least 18 months), the remainder of the set was fairly balanced with material from Hell Below/Stars Above (3), No Deliverance (4), and Feeler (3). The confidence and posture claimed by The Toadies even in the face of adversity laid claim to the line “This is OUR band, Texas”. And rightfully so.

By and large, Dia de los Toadies 4 was a success in many ways. And I hope that after a second straight year, a home has been found at the centrally located Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels. It fits this festival perfectly in virtually every way imaginable.

I speculated last year what Dia 5 would be like. I guess all we can do is sit and wait. I am sure planning is already underway.

Toadies Set




I Come From The Water

Little Sin


Hell or High Water

Mister Love

Song I Hate

Push The Hand


I Burn

No Deliverance


Possum Kingdom (Technical difficulties)


Man of Stone

Possum Kingdom

Doll Skin



Mexican Hairless



~ by thesynaptic on August 31, 2011.

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