Supporting their newest Columbia “Dulcinea,” Toad the Wet Sprocket packed in a youthful, mostly under 20 crowd at Fairfax High auditorium. Their impressive set certainly had the audience leaving the venue moved and entertained, as the band is artistic with specially crafted melody-writing skills, musicianship and great taste for the perfect amount of harmony. But even with their talent and flair for creating a sense of their own signature or stamp, the band has yet to discover that special distinction that creates memorability in their Supporting their newest Columbia offering “Dulcinea,” Toad the Wet Sprocket packed in a youthful, mostly under-20 crowd at Fairfax High auditorium. Despite multiple strengths, the band has yet to discover a distinctive sound or attitude.
Though Toad is musically compelling while they play, one can’t hum any of the hooks once out of the venue.
Part of the problem is lead singer Glen Phillips’ sweet but generic voice. Unlike his more distinctively styled contemporaries, there’s nothing to distinguish his sound.
The band’s stage presence is equally unremarkable. Their low-key approach is refreshing, but not grabbing. From the moment they nonchalantly walked on stage in casual clothes (and bare feet for Phillips), Toad appeared cool, smooth — and introspective.
Although dubbed an “alternative” band, Toad’s style really is an artful pop, with a few grunge sounds, an occasional foray into country (a la “Nanci”), and some experimentation with waltz time. The band also uses non-rock instruments in a song or two, such as clarinet and mandolin.