Though most of Yale’s musical talent is concentrated in the classical arena, there are still musicians at Yale who would rather bang away on the electric guitar. For them, the chance to play Toad’s is not only an honor in its own right but, if they are lucky, possibly an opportunity to be invited back. On Tuesday night, five bands took the stage where Mick Jagger and Keith Richards once stood.
The Quinnipiac-based trio Green-Oh opened the show with a style of funky, tripped-out hard rock that borrowed heavily from early Red Hot Chili Peppers. In a conversation after the show, the band’s Flea-emulating bassist, Quinnipiac’s Robert Bruce, named the Chilis as Green-Oh’s main influence. Their set’s high points were rooted in the band’s knack for eclectic psychedelic jams, while the low points mostly stemmed from the agonizingly bad vocals of the lead singer. That aside, Green-Oh was almost certainly the band with the most unique sound of the night.
Milo, Yale’s quintessential jam band, followed Green-Oh with a set of instrumental acrobatics. Clearly, Milo is a group of talented musicians who work very hard at what they do. Also clear is the fact that the members of Milo are really into Phish, whose influences could be felt throughout Milo’s performance. Like Phish, Milo borrows from a wide range of genres, and their set ranged from mellow grooves to insane atonality. An especially fine performance was put on by bassist Andrew Roach ’04.
Roach is a music reviewer for the Yale Daily News.
After Milo, the largest and most professional band of the night, Sonido Unidad, piled onto the stage. The 13-member Latin jazz collective composed of Yale students and members of the New Haven community came complete with dancers, a brass section, and an extensive array of percussionists. Drew Alt ’05 played the keys and demonstrated experienced control of his instrument. Sonido Unidad’s flavor of solid Latin jazz was perhaps not the usual style for Toad’s, but was autonomously powerful enough to cause the audience to spontaneously break into a fit of salsa dancing — whether they knew how to salsa or not. The band’s performance was extremely consistent and their music was absolutely stellar.
At least half of the crowd came especially to see Jigsaw, a new Yale party band who took the stage at Toad’s for only their second live show. The band’s inexperience showed in their occasional lack of cohesion. Nonetheless, Jigsaw kept the rhythmically retarded Yale crowd dancing spastically to a mix of jazz and rock covers as well as some original material.
Much of the crowd cleared out after Jigsaw’s performance, but a fair number of people stuck around for the Halfway House Band. The four members appeared on the stage in suits and played their brand of old fashioned, country-flavored rock. While their sound was a welcome throwback in music history, the band was visibly nervous and uncomfortable on stage. As a result, the energy of the performance suffered, even if the energy of the crowd did not.
Though the musicians on stage were friends and classmates instead of blossoming recording artists and established popular acts, crowd interaction stayed strong. Therein lies the greatest quality of Toad’s: an energetic and enthusiastic audience is practically a guarantee.