One of Chicago’s most beloved venues, Metro, is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year with a series of performances from acts who have graced its iconic stage over the past three-and-a-half decades of rock. On Oct. 10, the Toadies and Local H – both of whom chose Metro to host the 20th anniversary concerts in honor of their seminal releases Rubberneck and As Good As Dead, respectfully – joined forces for a show full of the delicious distortion, menacing leads and earnest melodies that made fans first fall in love with them in the 1990s.
The commanding riff of the Toadies’ rockabilly-infused track, “Take Me Alive,” which appears on the group’s latest release, The Lower Side of Uptown, set the tone for a night of no-nonsense rock and roll. Vaden Todd Lewis, explained that the band would be running through tracks from their entire discography and he quickly delivered on that promise by leading charged renditions of “Happy Face” (from Rubberneck) and “You’ll Come Down” (from Hell Below/Stars Above) early in the set.
“Sing along if you care to sing along,” Lewis said as the gnarly riffs of “I Come From the Water” descended upon fans’ eardrums. The entire crowd knew each and every word of the 1994 hit, but the biggest collective serenade came during the sinister single, “Possum Kingdom.” “Broke Down Stupid’s” layered rhythm – highlighted by drummer Mark Reznicek’s nuanced fills – made the track an authentic highlight of the night while Clark Vogeler’s ominous leads accentuated the whole performance, permeating the soul of all within earshot.
As the show’s opener, Chicago’s own, Local H, kicked-off their set of gnarly rock and roll with a furious execution of “The Last Picture Show in Zion,” which included feedback, feedback and more feedback. Hey, Killer tracks proved to be a favorite among the band and fans alike as Scott Lucas howled the ferocious melody of “City of Knives” and snarled his way through the nihilistic jam, “Freshly F*cked” elsewhere in the performance.
“It’s f*cking great to be home,” Lucas said midway through the set. The hometown audience felt unabashed pride for the Windy City, screaming a fierce “f*ck you” to the ever-celebrated coasts as Local H plowed through their What Ever Happened to P.J. Soles track, “California Songs.”
The entirety of the cathartic set – which also included a touching tribute to Tom Petty in the form of a cover of “I Need to Know” – was possessed by Ryan Harding’s blistering drums. The combination of his speed, power and musicianship made movement irresistible. A massive mosh pit overtook the crowd during “Bound to the Floor” and it remained through “John the Baptist Blues” and “High-Fiving MF,” during which Lucas proved that distortion can in fact be sculpted into its own work of art.
The Toadies and Local H will continue to tour across the country through mid-November. Check out photos from their Oct. 10 performance at Metro in Chicago below and click here to pick-up tickets to see them down the road.