From reviewer Carson Fant
It was rainy days that washed through Toad Suck Daze. Flash flooding in downtown Conway caused the cancellation of Saturday's music lineup, including headline act Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and rainstorms muddied Sunday's concerts. I heard the same joke a few times that Toad Suck Daze was living up to the second word in its name, but it was the weather that was bad, not the music.
On Friday night, the platinum-selling country act Little Big Town headlined the action. This was my introduction to the quartet's music, and I was impressed with their harmonies.
The sound was great, but I had an obstructed view at the intimate Simon Park stage. But I could still hear the band fine as they played through their set list, which included the crowd-favorite "Boondocks," "I'm With the Band," and a slowed down version of "Wounded." The group also played the Eagles' hit "Heartache Tonight" for an encore.
Little Big Town is nominated for three CMT Music Awards, including Group Video of the Year for "Fine Line," Collaborative Video of the Year with Sugarland and Jake Owen and CMT Performance of the Year, also with Sugarland and Jake Owen. The band urged the crowd to vote for them. No reason not to put in a little plug for yourself.
I was thrilled at the opportunity to see Robert Randolph and the Family Band, having caught them live a couple of years ago at Riverfest. Unfortunately, the weather did in those plans and threatened to do in Sunday's music. But an unflappable contingent came out Sunday afternoon to see the headline act, Jars of Clay.
Like Little Big Town, I was new to Jars of Clay's music. And after seeing them live I wish I had known their music better because they rocked harder than I expected. The best example of this was went they kept on playing strong as a train blared down the tracks not thirty yards behind the stage.
Jars of Clay played several songs from their new album, “The Long Fall Back to Earth,” including "Closer," which featured a trippy synthesizer loop and the lullaby, "Boys (Lesson One)," a touching song written to their sons.
Lead singer Dan Haseltine said the new album, which was released two weeks ago, is about relationships, not all of them between man and God. The funniest part of the concert was when the band joked sarcastically about whether it was okay for a Christian group to sing songs about girls.
I was also glad to have braved the rain to see local act Tyler Bass. Bass and his two-piece backup band had a nice moody sound on the tracks "Who Will Show Them Jesus" and "Alone," which featured an eerily metallic slide guitar. Bass also has an album out now.
All in all my first experience to Toad Suck Daze was enjoyable. I can't complain, mainly because it is a free event, and I got to hear some good music to put me back in the festival scene.