The Toadies, Helmet, and The Pleasure Club at the Bomb Factory 3/2/18

Photos by Dustin Schneider

Backslider To the Future

by Matt Stubbs from the Jerry Jonestown Massacre Show

This show was marked on my calendar the first moment I started seeing news of it on social media.   The Toadies, Helmet, and Pleasure Club sounded like a magical time machine waiting on me.  And to add to the nostalgia it took place at the “new and improved” Bomb Factory in Deep Ellum.  If there ever was a show that you might run into your ex-wife or husband, this was it.  There was a wide variety of fashion in attendance, from cowboy hats to Texas Ranger baseball caps, slacks, jeans, jorts and dresses.  Most of the guys were sporting receding hairlines and faded tattoos, and I bet when they swept the floors after the show there was some Viagra found soaked in puddles of Martin House Bockslider beer.  My kind of music crowd.

Pleasure Club started the night off, and began with a wall of delay and feedback that made me immediately pay attention to the sharply clad men on stage.  Drenched in red light and dressed in black button downs, fedoras, and sunglasses, they played a nice opening set.  This rock band hasn’t been on my radar in 14 years, and I remembered why I dug them as soon as front man, James Hall belted out his first phrase.  Mr. Hall’s vocals are reminiscent of Perry Farrell (Janes Addiction) and Ian Astbury (the Cult).  The coolest part of their set was recognizing the drummer, Michael Jerome, who was in one of my favorite DFW local bands of all time, Course of Empire.  This was a fine start to my first visit back to the venue I adored as a teen.


Helmet played the middle slot of this plutonium powered DeLorean of a rock show.  They pushed me closer and closer to 88 miles per hour.  Their grinded live sound hasn’t changed a bit.  They delivered the same Drop D Alt. Metal to the Millennials as they did for the Gen X’ers. who were both in attendance at this event.  Page Hamilton’s vocals are still spot on and still a perfect match to his New York noise rock band. Mr. Hamilton is such a pro at his art and craft that he tuned his guitar while he sang a verse and then immediately ripped into a bluesy jazz kind of solo.  Helmet still makes you bob your head and groove with their heavy hitting drums and thick wave of distortion.  And who knew that Page was a German linguist as well.  Helmet’s set was an awesome transition to the headlining band, but could have been about 15 minutes longer.  I felt like the 50,000 square foot venue wanted more. 

By time the Toadies took the stage all of us “40 Somethings” had been taken back to the 90’s, and ready for our friend’s older brother to show up with another Party Ball.  Kids, go google, “Party Ball”.  The Fort Worth native band played 24 songs, and didn’t leave any of their crowd pleasers off Rubberneck out of the mix.  The Lower Side of Uptown, is the band’s latest release, and they played several songs from it.  The Toadies sound was right in your face from the very beginning of their set with “Quitter”.  

Todd’s vocals have always shredded the air used to create them and are one of the staples to what I remember the 90’s sounding like.  Front men from that Rock era wanted to sound like him, but no one but Mr. Lewis pulls it off.  And this is still holds true today.  The Toadies songs are blistered with guitar feedback and hot licks,  they haven’t compromised with this sound at all.  Even the new stuff still has the swing time rock and roll sound that made them one of the state’s rock diamonds.  Their pounding drums and blues laden sound is still ringing in my ear.  Guitarist, Clark Vogeler nailed it for the bands audience.  Every song they played off Rubberneck, got an immediate crowd eruption of cheers and group sing along.  It was a pleasure seeing the band take such joy as the mixed aged group of rock fans sang their songs back at them.  They even got a crowd clap along to Polly Jean.  The time travel experience climaxed as the band decided on a whim to play the radio favorite Possum Kingdom.  And the Toadies followed that gift 2 songs later in the set with Tyler.  Causing a mass rush back into the venue by the people who tried to get out early before the crowd.  The encore included I Burn with a small drum core jam.  They also played the cover, I Put a Spell On You, which is on the band’s 2017 release. 

This was an overall great evening of live music and introduction to the Bomb Factory for me.  The venue is definitely a premier live music venue of Dallas. Take a look at the Bomb Factory’s calendar, there are a lot of great shows that are coming there, and you will enjoy the easy access to the bars, VIP options, and casual suites.   


Toadies Set List

  1. Quitter
  2. Push the Hand
  3. Mexican Hairless
  4. When I Die
  5. Rattler’s Revival
  6. Backslider
  7. Mama Take Me Home
  8. Song I Hate
  9. You’ll Come Down
  10. I Want Your Love
  11. You Know the Words
  12. Away
  13. Take Me Alive
  14. I Come from the Water
  15. Hell in High Water
  16. Little Sin
  17. Polly Jean
  18. Possum Kingdom
  19. Hell Below/ Stars Above
  20. Tyler


  1. Pressed Against the Sky
  2. Broke Down and Stupid
  3. I Put a Spell on You (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins cover)
  4. I Burn