The Toasters Dante’s Friday, June 17th 2022

As much time as I spend reviewing band touring pages and venue websites I keep missing shows that are coming to town till just before if not the day before they perform. It happened again with The Toasters on their west coast swing through Portland at Dante’s. I get emails regularly from Dante’s and noticed on Thursday that The Toasters were playing the next day.

Tonight The Toasters 10:30

My regularly scheduled Friday activity was cancelled so I was looking for something to do. Originally I thought about seeing the Garcia Birthday Band at the Portland Zoo but decided on The Toasters instead. It was closer to home and I had not seen them for almost 25 years. I last saw them with my best friend Jeremy at the 9:30 Club in DC back in early ‘98. I was home from Virginia Tech over winter break at the time. That was a good show and after all this time I didn’t know what to expect. Honestly I was just surprised they were still together and touring.

I didn’t have much information on the show besides things started at 8pm. I didn’t want to get there directly when doors opened but wanted to arrive in time to get a good spot. With rain predicted that night I wait till things cleared before walking to the venue.

The place was empty when I walked in. Having walked past it numerous times it was nice to see it from the inside for once. Off to the far right is a second bar, merch area and because it’s Portland, video poker. In the center of the room were some tables, another bar to the far left, dance floor near the stage and some high tops in the back. One of those high tops has a fire with a skull in the middle of it. Kinda cool visually but in the summer this must be super hot. Definitely a dark dungeon feel to the place with a few dragons and red candles and very dim lighting. Realizing The Toasters wouldn’t be on for a while I found a spot at one of the high top tables. Being close to the stage wasn’t something I was interested in, being comfortable was.

There were several opening acts before The Toasters kicked off their set. First up was The Cascadians. A native Portland ska and rock steady band. Never heard of them but I was really impressed with their music. I loved the sound they had with all the horns and the two guitarists really nailed it. Next up was The Kings from Seattle who was on tour with The Toasters during their PNW stint of shows. More of a punk band with some serious energy. Another great addition to the nights lineup.

The Toasters

The music started at 8pm on the dot with the two opening acts and then The Toasters. It was a good flow to the night with only the briefest of time between bands to swap equipment and confirm everything was microphoned correctly. This continued on till The Toasters toke the stage at 10:30pm. Damn they all looked old but I have to remind myself, so am I. The opening acts really made for a good night of music.

The show was short in my opinion but The Toasters killed it. I haven’t followed their music for decades but recognized many of the songs from the old days. I remember the third wave of ska when I got into it in the ’90’s. I followed many of the bands on 99.1 WHFS which was the best radio station in the world and is to this day. Still the best even though it died an untimely death in January 2005. The Toasters that night lit up the place when they came out. Several people where in the pit skanking but as most of us are old, it didn’t last very long. They are still a political group and made several references to politics, social justice and equality.

Almost as soon as it started it was over. Even with the encore the show was just over an hour long. I would have figured with four decades of music The Toasters could have played long into the night. Maybe it was a curfew Dante’s has but it was a Friday night, its a dive bar and this is right in the middle of downtown-who-gives-a-fuck Portland. Regardless it was a great night of ska music. The venue is a dive but it has so much character it’s a cool place. Don’t expect much from the venue and you will be well rewarded. Such a good night of music I was very happy I caught the band after almost 25 years. At this rate they will still be touring and I will be able to see them in another 25 years when they come through town.

The Toasters
Friday, June 17th 2022

Opening acts: The Cascadians and The Kings

350 W Burnside St
Portland, OR 97209

Set starts at 10:30pm

  1. ?
  2. ?
  3. ?
    Set over at 11:25pm

Encore starts at 11:26pm

  1. Two Tone Army
  2. “Talk is Cheap”
    House lights at 11:35pm