Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Wednesday night at the Mobius was a little surreal.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œCan we all scoot in?â€ Glen Phillips asked the crowd.Â
I counted ten of us in the audience. Â In that moment, I watched the same thought dawn on us all.Â Why wouldnâ€™t we want to get up close to the ex-front-man of Toad the Wet Sprocket?
Â â€œYeah,â€ we said, and pulled all the folding chairs to the foot of the stage.
â€œIâ€™m still gonna sing into the mic,â€ Glen said, but he didnâ€™t bother to amplify his acoustic guitar.Â Phillipsâ€™ biggest fans sat right next to me: his wife and young son.Â Â Instead of offering anecdotes from behind the fifth wall, Phillips spoke to and listened to audience members.Â Â At times, it seemed less like a concert and more like a seminar, or an old friend, playing guitar around the fireplace.
I learned to play â€œWalk on the Oceanâ€ and â€œAll I Wantâ€ in high school, and I still own a worn cassette tape ofÂ Fear.Â Toad the Wet Sprocket had their last Top 40 hit thirteen years ago, and the band is somewhat defunct these days.Â Lead singer and guitar player Glen Phillips is still performing solo material, sounding a lot like he did in the Toad days, but offering up some oddballs as well.Â He sang about a friend promising God heâ€™d never masturbate or get high again if his dad didnâ€™t kill the neighborâ€™s dog (his dad missed with the shotgun, but he admits he still partakes in both activities).
Phillips brought West Coaster Jonathan Kingham along for this national tour.Â Kingham dropped a hilarious freestyle rap about the Ashland Pita Pit.Â Coincidentally, the Pita Pit driver walked in mid-flow with an armload of pitas and shared a laugh.Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œThe last time I was in Ashland,â€ Kingham said, â€œI had a guy say he would not clap for me.Â He said it was a waste of energy.â€Â The guy â€˜whooshedâ€™ Kingham instead, which basically meant he said â€˜whooshâ€™ and pushed his palms towards the stage.Â â€œHe said that way heâ€™s not wasting energy, heâ€™s just passing it on to me… so I have fine memories of your town.Â Do you know that guy?â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â A lady in the front row said, â€œThatâ€™s every guy in Ashland!â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Whoosh, indeed.