SAN FRANCISCO — Toad The Wet Sprocket played an unforgettable show at The Fillmore Thursday. The Santa Barbara band, which formed in 1986 and came to fame with the release of Fear in 1992, played a mix of older songs that did not leave fans disappointed.
Glen Phillips, barefoot and clad in a cowboy hat, started the show with the mid-tempo “The Moment,” off New Constellation, which had great jangly guitars from Todd Nichols. Toad then went into former hit”Whatever I Fear,” off 1997’s Coil, now 20 years old. Phillips’ distinct vocals had never sounded better as he sang, “Whatever I fear the most is whatever I see before me.” Toad played with a tightness and tenacity the band had not shown in recent years.
Toad the Wet Sprocket still has its original lineup intact, save for Randy Guss who fractured his ribs. The band sounded like it should after playing together for so long.
The guitar playing by Nichols blended seamlessly with bassist Dean Dinning on “All Things in Time.” The two also added gorgeous harmonies to “All I Want,” complementing Phillips’ vocals.
Glen Phillips who is a natural on stage and offered up plenty of banter as well, complimenting the audience about “attractive, intelligent and smart” it was, chatting about the city’s unenforceable rent. Not all of his jokes connected with the crowd. “I’m making an ass out of myself,” he commented at one point.
Toad then introduced a song that will be featured on the upcoming animated movie Animal Crackers, “One Of Those Days.” The song has a catchy keyboard melody by Jonathan Kingham.
But earlier material received the most cheers; songs like “Good Intentions” had fans singing along. Nichols also showed off his own vocal talents on “Crazy Life,” with Phillips adding the harmonies. Toad even added a little psychedelic Pink Floyd into the mix with”Breathe” at the end of “Don’t Fade.”
As the night came to an end, the crowd was treated to songs off Fear. The band is celebrating the album’s 25th anniversary. “Nightingale Song” had Dinning and Phillips join drummer Josh Daubin (of opener Beta Play) shaking tambourines. The set ended with the crowd singing along to “Walk on the Ocean.”
Fellow Santa Barbara band Beta Play opened the show. The two bands are close and Beta Play drummer Daubin is also filling in on drums for Toad. The band played infectious, dance-pop. Frontman Tom Cantillon plugged their new album between songs and joked people buy it from “Tinder and Atari.” Songs like “Tug of War” were perfect for dancing along; “Fire to My Feet” had great harmonies between brothers Tom and Michael Cantillon.