The RDU Music staff was approached about covering a Tuesday night show in Durham. That’s one strike for a weeknight and another for Durham. [That shit is like 30 minutes away! – Ed.] It’s a good thing that the bands in question happened to be two of the best grungy, alternative rockers that the 90s had to offer: The Toadies and Local H.
Let me tell you: Local H’s Scott Lucas is looking great at 47 years young. Life on the road must have been good to him because I look like shit at 35 while he can still hit the high notes with ease. Alongside drummer Ryan Harding, Scott brought Local H back to the Triangle area for a raucous set that flirted with disaster for its entirety. By the middle of song two, Scott proclaimed that it was, “one of them shows already,” as kick drum mics got tangled in patch cords and certain over-the-hill drunkards tried their best to ruin an otherwise powerful set from one of my favorite and most underrated rock acts of the 90s.
Durham did not put its best foot forward at Motorco for this show. The majority of the crowd were likeminded thirtysomethings or higher who wanted to be reminded of how it felt to spin an excellent record like As Good as Dead for the first time in their parents’ basement. Unfortunately, a couple of bad apples spoiled the bunch as two middle-aged assclowns decided to get shitfaced before 9pm on a Tuesday and bum everyone out.
In the middle of the first goddamn song, these tools were taking cell phone photos from the first row with the flash on and pantomiming hitting Scott’s guitar as his rockitude brought him to the front of the stage. “I don’t want to be in your selfies,” said Scott as he unironically flipped off the camera. Things went downhill fast as the meatheads in the crowd began to feel like their declining masculinity was in question, causing them to pop off at the mouth about wanting to fight a complete stranger who was nice enough to play a show for them. Scott tried diffusing the situation with some humor as he called out one of the assholes for sloppily making out with his insufferable girlfriend during the set. “This is a rock show, not prom. Get the fuck out of here. You are bumming everyone out.” This was apparently akin to insulting one’s saintly mother so the shitty party boys proceeded to continue causing a scene while one of their girlfriends got into it with another woman, each ending up with a handful of each other’s hair before a larger and more level-headed woman stepped in. I was more than embarrassed and hope that Local H will accept my apologies on behalf of Durham at large.
I had written about three more paragraphs on the topic of the deplorable behavior exhibited by these buttmunchers but I realized that I was starting to bum myself out so I decided to not waste any more keystrokes on these garbage people. For those of you that need closure, I heard from a reputable source (some dude) that the buffoons in question got thrown out and were starting shit outside. All is right in the world. Now back to the true star of the show: Local H’s set.
I never thought I’d see Local H with a bassist [Scott’s guitars are modded with a bass pickup. – Ed.] but The Toadies’ Doni Blair made a guest appearance on stage to join the duo for “Michelle (Again)” from 2008’s Twelve Angry Months. Other set highlights included a rockin’ cover of the recently deceased Tom Petty’s “I Need to Know” in addition to some great crowd participation on hits from the Island years like “Fritz’s Corner” and “Bound for the Floor,” both of which found yours truly screaming along at the top of his lungs. Those lyrics are so deeply ingrained into my memory that I won’t ever forget them.
If my memory serves [It usually doesn’t. – Ed.], Local H closed the set with a fiery double-time version of “High-Fiving MF” which was worth the admission price alone.
Photog extraordinaire and RDU Music‘s own, Lan, busted out 1994’s seminal Rubberneck on the way to a party we attended the prior weekend. I was immediately transported back to a simpler time when rock had that fat groove and the weed was chockful of seeds and stems. I could almost taste the ill-gotten packs of smokes we had to get older kids to buy for us. If good music doesn’t have that effect on you, it’s time to hang it up and go sell some insurance for The Man.
On the surface, the years have not been quite as nice to The Toadies’ Vaden Todd Lewis but he and his cohorts have not missed a beat when it comes to knowing how to lay down the chunkiest riffs this side of 1995. The frontman laid it out from the beginning of the set: “We’re gonna play songs from the new record, songs from Rubberneck, and some in between.” He wasn’t lying as The Toadies burned through 7 songs from their biggest record, 4 from the new record, and a handful of others including an encore consisting of two covers flanking Rubberneck‘s underrated, slow-building closing track, “I Burn.”
Durham showed up with some solid crowd participation on hits such as “Backslider” and “I Come from the Water.” I had to laugh at the poor roadie who rigged up a separate mic solely for one song’s worth of some egg-shaker percussion. Toward the end of the set, I spied the best-dressed concertgoer I have seen all year: Coexist t-shirt and suspenders with a drug rug tied around his waist. Man, I miss the 90s.
The first cover of the encore saw The Toadies paying homage to the recently fallen rock hero, Tom Petty, with their rendition of 1977’s “Breakdown.” They then closed the set with some sweet back-to-back guitar courtesy of Local H’s Scott Lucas on the classic hit, “I Put a Spell on You,” which culminated with the Scott effortlessly crowd-surfing back to the bar as if he had done so a hundred times. I have good money that says these two bands had a blast at every single stop on this tour.