Saturday night at Richardson’s Wildflower! Arts and Music Festival featured a lineup of vintage acts (Kansas, Edgar Winter Band, Night Ranger), not quite as vintagy acts (Toadies) and a cover band of a now vintage act (Sublime tribute band Bad Fish). Once the dreary morning and afternoon weather passed, the crowds were out in full force, with a slight edge given to the stage hosting the classic-rock outfits.
Given a choice between a) hearing “Dust in the Wind” and “Sister Christian” or b) the Toadies and the closest thing we have anymore to Sublime, I picked B and was happy I did. Though they’ve likely played every Sublime song a jillion times, the guys in Bad Fish dug down and found the excitement they must have felt the first time they played the songs of their musical heroes. The show-ending sing-along version of “What I Got” was a highlight.
In the headling slot, Fort Worth’s Toadies seemed a kinder, gentler version of their raging 90s selves. Frontman Todd Lewis played both affable host (“So what has been you’re favorite part of the festival so far? The corndogs?”) and head security guard, politely asking those in front to not crush each other. His caterwauling vocals on songs like “Tyler” and “Backslider” were maybe turned down to 8 from 10, but who could blame him? It’d be tough for anyone to make it through a whole set vocally while going all out on the Toadies canon. The band happily obliged the crowd’s obvious hunger for all things Rubberneck, dishing out an even mix of songs from that 1994 classic with tracks from its 2008 album, No Deliverance.
The headliners weren’t without competition, though. As the band tore through one of its songs, one by one nearly every head in the crowd turned 90 degrees to the north, focusing on a room in the adjacent Renaissance Hotel. How to put this delicately … let’s just say there was a competing show going on in a third-floor room with the curtains wide open. The crowd cheered on the mystery couple for a few minutes before a knock on the door came, the curtains were drawn and the show resumed.
Click here for some crowd video of “Possum Kingdom.”