Words By: Carolyn Lederach, all photos by Lisa Boehm

End of an Era for Toy Soldiers…Maybe

Friday night the crowd anxiously came crawling into Union Transfer to catch a night of Philly’s finest.  We were treated to the sounds of Cheerleader opening the night, getting the room ready with their fun power pop rock.  Closing out the night was Cheers Elephant, returning to Philly after their recent west coast relocation.  However, this night truly belonged to Toy Soldiers, seeing that it was their reported last hometown show ever.

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Having announced only a few weeks ago that Toy Soldiers would be going on an indefinite hiatus, the rumor mill has been a buzzing, tears have been wept, and who knows, maybe some cheers of rejoice as well.  More info on the hiatus can be found in Steph’s recent article: HERE.

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I’ve seen Toy Soldiers more times than I can count in the last several years.  For those of you who have had the misfortune of never seeing them, they always deliver at their live shows.  They make the people dance, they make the people laugh.  Basically, they bring the fun.  Toy Soldiers always provide a top notch, dialed in sound all their own, that has brought much attention to them since the release of Maybe Boys last year.  This show was nothing short of that, but I have to admit that there was a strange vibe to the set.  Maybe to the untrained Toy Soldiers ear it all seemed well and good, but there was something askew.  Usual upbeat, fast paced tunes like “Love Ya Like a Love Ya” seemed a little slower than usual.  It seemed a bit clear that everyone was ready to hang it up, which didn’t help with a full hour and a half set.  We also missed out on some crowd favorites like “Red Dress,” “Throw Me Down,” and Dom Billett’s “Weeping Willow.”

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Despite that, there were some amusing highlights to the show to uplift and make things a little more strange.  Many cover songs were involved, with snippets from the likes of Van Halen, Semisonic, Led Zeppelin, to name a few.  We also were treated to some tunes from close friends to the band, Andrew Combs and Joe Fletcher, who were in town with Ron Gallo as they took a night off of the current Beach Binge Tour.  Bass-man Bill McCloskey took lead on a tune, provided us with his promising song about truck stops bathrooms and cocaine.  We also got to experience a “touching” eulogy from Swift Technique’s Greg Rosen, who left us with the quote “only time will tell” and then proceeded to re-introduce Toy Soldiers as a reincarnated 311.

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They went out surrounded by friends and family.  There were many members of the new American Diamond Recordings family in attendance, as well as members of other Philly favs like Dirty Dollhouse and DRGN King.  The bittersweet ending to the show left many wondering if and when the Maybe Boys will return.  I think it’s safe to say it will be a long while until we see these boys back vibing together.  But to fill that unknown timeframe we can look forward to many side projects from each of them, and I for one am pretty excited to hear what’s next.  So forget how it used to be (see what I did there) and get ready to look into the future, whatever it may hold.

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Stay tuned soon for a one on one interview with Ron Gallo.  We ask the hard hitting questions of what has come of Toy Soldiers and what’s in the future.

Setlist

Closing Time (Semisonic cover)

Tomorrow to Today

Heart in a Mousetrap

Street Sweeper

Expensive Hair

Invisible Telephone Wires (Bill lead)

Tell The Teller

Forget How It Used to Be

I’m Your Woman

Emily (Andrew Combs lead)

Drunk & Single (Joe Fletcher lead)

Love Ya Like I Love Ya

Early in the Morning (Ron solo)

– Greg Rosen’s Eulogy –

Closing Time (Semisonic cover…again)

Don’t Mind the Lion

Words By: Carolyn Lederach, all photos by Lisa Boehm