Three Must-See Acts This Week La Fleur, Toad the Wet Sprocket (Sat. 7/21 at GAMH), and SHADES – SF Weekly

While many rock bands attempted to fill the grunge-void Nirvana left behind, Toad the Wet Sprocket was on the other end of the alt-rock spectrum, producing a string of delicately crafted melodic-folk albums that would come to define an era that continues to inspire other artists today. The band formed more than 30 years ago when four high school friends in Santa Barbara came together, including vocalist and guitarist Glen Phillips (only 15 at the time). After becoming a mainstay in their local music scene and self-releasing their debut album Bread & Circus in 1989, the quartet broke through to the mainstream with their platinum third studio album Fear, which included hit singles like “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean,” both of which are still in frequent rotation on alt-rock radio. The group went on to release two more albums during the decade, Dulcinea and Coil, and while each had its share of hits and acclaim, neither matched the heights of Fear, and the four musicians called it quits in 1998. After brief reunions and flirting with the idea of recording together, Toad the Wet Sprocket officially reformed in 2006, re-recording their older songs due to licensing issues with their discography. Through an enthusiastic crowdfunding campaign, the group released New Constellation in 2013, their first album in 16 years, to critical acclaim, and displayed a wiser, more optimistic version of the group. - SF Weekly