Slim's 6/8/1999

Review by Guy Daugherty (Switch to


Just rolled back in- my, my. Quite the show, and that from a veteran of maybe fifty Todds by now. So, the playlist as promised, and demonstration that I'm no reviewer:

Show was scheduled for 9, Todd came over the PA about 9:15 telling us where the other bathrooms were and that it'd be about another fifteen minutes.

No warm-up performer, Todd and the boys (Kasim Sulton on base, John Ferenzik on another base [or not? anyways, it was a guitar... for awhile] Jesse Gress [looking more and more like Todd's been cloned], and Prairie Prince on the drums, looking like Robert Mitchum) came straight out and into it. It's the "Half Twisted" tour for a reason, but for those who don't like the WAT stuff, chin up because the first half's electrical guitar.

To wit:

Then the band took a break (more about the adventures later in the post) and there was a "tweener", Julie Christianson, whose name I may have spelled wrong or maybe botched completely, because I can't find a mention of her on the web. Good singer, I don't know how to describe her type.... maybe a little like Maria Muldaur? Anyway, she did a short set of about six songs, during which the audience tended to make lots of talk. The Tahiti Lounge was set up, and the kids were back doing all With a Twist: but no encore. I don't think I've seen Todd not do an encore before. Then again, it was 1 AM BY NOW!!! Just shy of two-dozen damned songs, and little of the odd Todd asides...


So then, the sordid details of the kickoff show of the Half-Twisted Tour.

The Black and White Ball doesn't count- I didn't see that, but I ran into Jim Brunberg from Box Set (an EXCELLENT group from SF, and if you ever have a chance to go see them, DO IT), another total Toddhead, and he'd been there. Mixups, politics, and general junk: apparently Todd had about twenty minutes to play.

Slim's is a medium-sized club on Eleventh Street in San Francisco, just a bit north of Brannan, I think, and south of Market. They were working on Eleventh as I got there about 8:30, or parking would probably have been available on Eleventh itself. I wound up about a block away. I'd ordered my ticket through -first time I'd tried them, and since I didn't order until Saturday, it was will-call, and it was.

The show was to start at 9 PM, and Todd came over the PA about quarter after to give restroom directions and say they'd start about 9:30. Perhaps a couple of minutes after that, the lights dimmed and John Fereznik walked from stage right to his place on the left, followed by Prairie Prince and Jesse Gress on the right. Then out came Todd, looking unusually normal in some grey jeans and a grey shirt. Even had his hair kinda short, though that blond top was still there.

They launched straight in to The Surf Talks, and unlike some performances I'd seen before (and enjoyed no less) this time Todd brought all his voice. He was looking and sounding great, much much better than when he was on Politically Incorrect a few months ago. Then again, it's the first show of the tour...

I don't know instruments, so allow slack here- Todd was playing the teal P-wotzitsname, Jesse had a Fender with a swirled turquoise finish, Kasim's base was an SSD? and John was out of my range to see. And drums, hell, I have no idea, but I think Prairie could play empty buckets and make them sound great.

Second song (I'm not going through the whole list here) was Fix Your Gaze, and Prairie botched the end, playing an extra bar or so. Todd ribbed him about it, and said the next song they might all know how it goes since they've played it before.... that was Black and White, sounding great.

Then Todd said they had been looking through the bottom of the glovebox for some old stuff, and they did Drive which was sounding terrific until John's guitar or the circuitry between it and the board had some kind of seizure sending out a luscious feedback and screeeeeeeeeech... and then died. They got the song finished, and Todd said that was rock and roll, and John was left dead in the road with no guitar noise. It took them about two songs to get it fixed, during which John said he'd play mime guitar. The mood was up, but you could still tell Todd wasn't really pleased at how things were going. Kasim was having too good a time having a good time- I don't know if anyone looks so much like he's having fun at work.

Todd stayed with the same guitar except for Hammer in My Heart, when he played a brown Blade.

Second half, the With a Twist part, Todd did only vocals, Jesse switched to acoustic, and John was on keyboard. Everyone was in suits. There were more hardware troubles- Jesse needed batteries in something (roadie in the way to see), Kasim seemed to be displeased with how his sound was getting out at one point, but didn't rattle. Jesse went to a different acoustic guitar, but couldn't get it to work.

I'd not heard Born to Synthesize done WAT before, and was very favorably impressed with how it came across... it was the show-off solos of the evening, and John on keyboards and Jesse on electric were both just excellent.

A Dream Goes On Forever was the last song, and it would have been a bit jarring if I'd known ahead of time they weren't going to do any encores... but by now it was 1 AM, and I still had 92 miles and all this writing to get done.... oh, and of course I'm heading back tomorrow night, this time for the dinner and show. I'll bet they have some different folks working hardware....

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6/8/1999 - Slim's - San Francisco, CA

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