It’s been pretty good for Monty Python related news lately. The classic comedy troupe just announced a reunion in London (which sold out in 43 seconds, resulting in four more shows) and California alternative rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket just appeared at Mill City. Nights of Minneapolis, ending their 2013 tour with a toe-pat 90 min. together.
The group, named after a Python sketch “Rock Notes,” took fans both back and forth, with generous samples of their ’90s radio hits and selections from their last and first in sixteen years. , the Kickstarter funded New constellation, self-produced on their own Abe’s Records label.
While fellow American Idol winner Phillip Phillips had just opened the streets for John Mayer, Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze had fun with 40 min. opening set promoting his latest, Frames (Avant-garde documents). New songs like ‘Silver Lining’ and ‘Fight’ were well received, and audiences were mostly receptive to his humble and honest writing.
” Nice to see you ! Toad frontman Eternal Glen Phillips said just as the introductory music to Divine Fits wore off and the band launched into a new song, “The Moment” to begin their set. A familiar “Good Intentions” rocked the mostly thirty-something crowd, Phillips and bassist Dean Dinning harmonizing the chorus as if it were twenty years old.
“This band wouldn’t be a band without Minneapolis,” Phillips mentioned, then recounted all the bands in the area that he considered to be an influence, before cheekily asking Dinning if he knew the bassline of “When Doves Cry “. . The group, completed by guitarist Todd Nichols and Randy Guss on drums, were more than ably assisted on stage by Jonathan Kingham on keyboard, steel guitar and mandolin.
TTWS songs have always blended a Californian sensibility with similar British and Australian alt-pop echoes that were also occurring in their heyday (i.e. were directly influenced, and songs by New constellation fit perfectly alongside their old catalog.
Guitarist Nichols has taken over the lead vocals of several tracks including “Inside” and “Crazy Life” with skillful Kingham organ playing, Nichols’ voice a little deeper and slightly rougher than Phillips, but no less melodic.
Phillips asked the crowd to sing a three-part melody (balcony, floor and front) before “All I Want” and marveled at the Minnesotans’ ability to dress for “10 degrees outside and 80 degrees inside ”-“ you have crazy skills… or you are standing on piles of coats! », Which provoked a collective laugh.
Somehow (although it may have been more appropriate during ‘Fall Down’) the band paused in the middle of the song of ‘Dam Would Break’ as they noticed a girl collapsing in the middle of the floor, to pick her up quickly while the embarrassed boyfriend, sharply pushed his companion away. Phillips playfully scratched the debut of The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied” before giving up and stepping into the much more familiar “Come Back Down” instead.
‘Nightingale Song’ was a crowd cheer, driven by bassist Dinning keeping the collective time on the tambourine. “Enough love,” said Phillips, “we’ll go back to the boys and the ladders,” ending the new “Rare Bird” and entering Fear’s “Is It For Me” from 1991. A fiery, drawn “Fall Down” from the band’s other album, Dulcinea from 1994, closed the main set with an energetic finish.
Setlist with guitar changes
The encore started with the hit “Something’s Always Wrong” followed by the new “I’ll Bet on You” and ended with “Walk on the Ocean”, embellished by Kingham’s mandolin and whose choruses seemed to be sung in a more serious tone, but was no less entertaining.
Like a cozy blanket or a familiar book, Toad the Wet Sprocket returns to form, as if they’d never left us in the late 1990s, less somber in theme now and more assertive and relaxed in concert than before. For some in the audience, it was about recapturing the soundtrack from their glory years; for others, a welcome revisit of the past with new beginnings and songs to create future memories.
As the crowds filtered through to the sound of Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” ending music, what lies ahead for Toad the Wet Sprocket is just once again on the bright side.