No doubt inspired by the relatively recent explosion of music festivals in North Texas, a lot has been written, cheekily but also surprisingly seriously, about what constitutes a festival and what doesn’t. A proper festival, some bloviators have said, should be outdoors. Oh, really? According to what rulebook? A proper festival, some other writers feel, should have an “identity.” Well, shouldn’t the fact that several bands that have never shared a bill before but are performing together at a designated place and at a designated time automatically qualify the event as unique?
I don’t know if anyone other than the blowhards really cares about all of this hand-wringing. I know I sure don’t. Semantics is barely interesting and even then only when pertaining to beer, pizza, or, so I hear, Heidegger.
Who cares if 20 or 2,000 people go to Dia de los Toadies, the seventh installation of the titular Fort Worth quartet’s annual music festival and the second in a row to take place in the Fort, once again at Panther Island Pavilion? Did you go? Did you have fun? Did you perform? Did you give your best, as you should every time you step onto a stage? That’s really all that matters.
To play on the concept of an identity, this Dia is a hydra-headed monster. No, there isn’t any hip-hop or country, just rock –– in keeping with the spirit of The Toadies –– but all of the performers represent subtle variations of the genre that should make for one of the best, most dynamic fests of the year.
We all know how great the headliners are, and no one needs to tell you that seeing them, the countrified Old 97’s, the soulfully rollicking Quaker City Night Hawks, the temporarily reunited Pleasant Grove, and the bluesy Somebody’s Darling is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon and evening. Just don’t let any of the openers slip past you either.
Keep your eyes and ears especially peeled for Blank-Men, a newish Fort Worth quartet whose debut six-song EP, Fact or Fiction?, is a sort of mélange of Devo, propulsive synth-punk, and pure bombast (“Blank-Men: New Traditionalists,” Sept. 3, 2014).
Equally rowdy but much heavier is Austin’s Residual Kid. Though the three members are barely old enough to drive legally, they’re totally legit, pounding out a species of neo-grunge with a psychedelic edge that honors the past without mainlining it.
Somewhere in between Blank-Men and Residual Kid is Fort Worth’s Longshots. Offering up a Tex-Mex version of punk –– all grease, no bubblegum –– they can get loud and locomotive but are never anything less than superbly catchy.
The remaining opener is pretty well known nationally but, as far as I can recall, hasn’t played the Fort in years (if ever). Led by live wire vocalist/guitarist Lauren Larson, Ume is probably the most Toadies-esque band on the bill. The Austin trio delivers sturdily structured songs, juicy choruses, and lots of deliciously crunchy, reverb-laden riffs.
Tickets to Dia de los Toadies are $35-130, but if you’d like to win a pair to one or both days (Friday and Saturday), visit fwweekly.com/fw-weekly-newsletter-sign/ to subscribe to the Weekly’s weekly arts and entertainment newsletter, The Weekender, for your chance.
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