Event Review: Tossers
House of Blues, Chicago, IL
By Fernando Diaz, St@tic [05-16-2002]
The Tossers regaled an audience made up of mostly punk kids at the HOB. The Southside natives charged the stage with their six-member band, producing a tone built on a banjo, mandolin, bass, guitars (both acoustic and electric) and a fiddle. The result was a lucid concoction rousing stirs from and audience that built as they went on.
Filling HOB with their brand of Celtic-punk, they played from their extensive repertoire, and managed to dedicate every song to someone, even a former fiddle player, for which each band member added his own comment. T Duggins, lead vocals and mandolin, played with fervor matching up with banjo player Clayton Hansen as they led the band through the revelry. Although it was hard to understand his vocals, their sound was whole, a tribute to their long career as a band.
Even though most of their songs sound the same, they all got into it, while fiddle player/backup vocalist A Duggins, brother of the lead singer, had his own improvisations to add. In many ways, he stole the show, forcing the rest of the band to play on despite the distractions he caused after performing a magic act that made several bottles of beer atop the amplifiers disappear. While playing guitar, manning the fiddle, and interjecting several times, whether planned or improvisational remains to be discovered, he was able to light and lose several cigarettes, and later became quite a handful. The rest of the band didn't realize until about the third song that he was smashed. And whether it was due to his beginning volley of spit, or the ensuing stream of vomit that poured between his parts, the spectacle was definitely worth the entry fee.
Through all this, the Tossers performed more than admirably, and it can be said that despite the possibility for disaster A Duggins represented, even he kept the show rolling. The show cut off after their eighth number or so, but until the end, when even his brother came over to check on his status, the show went on. The last song was punctuated by a shrill sound he gave out from his fiddle, after finding the right end, and despite it's horrific sound, the crowd applauded. At one point during the show, a member of the audience took his hat off, to beg A Duggins to cut himself off. And in the spirit of what seems to be down home Irish-inflected punk, he politely ignored him, and kept on drinking.
Overall, the show was a success, and even if this is common, or never happens again, the test of making it through with a member of the band out of his tree is a mighty feat to accomplish. We can only wonder what would happen if his brother followed suit. Now that would be a show you wouldn't want to miss. The Tossers are currently on a national tour promoting their fourth album, and will eventually travel to Europe to continue the promotion of their latest effort, The First League Out From Land.
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