With the sparkling Fort Worth skyline behind them and a half moon hanging in the sky above them on the final day of the sixth annual Dia de Los Toadies, one of Fort Worths biggest rock exports was making a threat.
Metaphorically, that is the veteran band kicked off its headlining set with We Burned the City Down, a raging tune featuring a chorus tailormade for shouting aloud (We burned the city down/Yeah, we burned the city down) and which adrenalized the couple thousand on hand at Panther Island Pavilion. (Attendance figures were not immediately available.)
And the intense, muscular set delivered by Vaden Todd Lewis and his bandmates (Mark Reznicek, Doni Blair and Clark Vogeler) was indeed a fiery display, toggling between recent material (like the aforemention set opener, taken from 2012s Play.Rock.Music) and classics (like the similarly scorching I Burn, pulled from Toadies 1994 debut, Rubberneck).
Slamming from one song to the next, the mood was less celebratory than confrontational, but thats just how Fort Worth likes its Toadies raw, lean and screaming.
Lewis and company were on point throughout (although the half-hour delayed start time was a bit baffling), and the crowd was locked in from the get-go. Hopefully, this is just the start of a new Fort Worth festival tradition no threat, all promise.
Elsewhere along the Trinity, bands like Eisley and Gary Clark Jr. delivered wholly different but equally satisfying sets. Tyler family band Eisley has matured into an outfit unafraid of edge, giving even its early material, like the feather-light Golly Sandra, a sharp new dimension.
Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr., who is having a breakout year, proffered a sizzling, hour-long showcase, reeling off one astonishing solo after another and coming dangerously close to upstaging the festivals namesake.
Dia de Los Toadies, by all appearances, was a good fit at Panther Island Pavilion, which has, in a very short time, become a magnet for single- and multiple-day events just outside downtown Fort Worth. If this years cram-packed calendar is any indication, expect even more music to be emanating soon from the shores of the Trinity River.