Words and Photos by Dustin Schneider
It was a flashback to the glory of the 90s on Friday night as The Toadies played the House of Blues in Dallas for the first time in their 33-year career, which I found really surprising. For the past month and a half the Toadies have been making their way around the country, and if I can go ahead and pull back the curtain, sounded like a well-oiled machine as they cranked through a set of sing-a-long classics. I’ve seen the Toadies more than I can remember, from the glory days of Madhatters with Adam’s Farm to now, and I can’t remember a terrible Toadies show. I’m sure Vaden could set me straight in that belief, but you can almost always bet on the band putting on a great show and finding yourself surrounded by a bunch of friends singing and bobbing along to every song. It’s always a great night.
But what intrigued me more on this cold November night was who the Toadies brought with them; the resurrected Doosu and a rare performance from Mike Graff, Mike Daane, and Duncan Black. The evening began with the two Mikes and Duncan chugging through Course of Empire and Halls of the Machine tracks, inviting a few friends to join them on stage during the set. Even though I keep my Course of Empire collection on constant rotation, it has been decades since I have heard these songs played live and it brought all sorts of memories flooding back to the surface. It was ridiculously awesome, but their set had a purpose: In 2019 former Course of Empire Drummer and Curtain Club sound engineer Chad Lovell had an accident while at home and has been hospitalized ever since. Proceeds from the show, merch sales, and a silent auction (that had all sorts of awesome local memorabilia, see below) went to him and his family.
Stuffed in the middle of this delectable sandwich was Doosu. The DFW music scene in the 90s had its fair stretch of bands that moved the needle on the ‘cool factor’, but to me, Doosu broke that meter. They were the coolest of the cool. Playing loud noisy rock shows and not giving a fuck, at least that is how it seemed to a youngster like me. So it’s been “87 years since some of these songs have been played” according to Casey Hess from stage, and sure they may have matured and aren’t as noisy and chaotic as I remember live, but saying they were fantastic is an understatement. Beautiful and fun rock songs that got the crowd warmed up to a long evening of singing-a-long. I can only hope that this night, as well as the recent releases of Aqua Vida and Quick Bionic Arms, it’s just the beginning of a few more Doosu shows down the road.
It was an evening full of massive talent and a bunch of guys, now friends that I have looked up to years. I really wish there were more nights like this.
Mike Graff, Mike Daane, Duncan Black