Glen Phillips delights the M-Shop

Glen Phillips performed at the Maintenance Shop on April 22. Phillips style can be defined as indie folk, rock and alternative. He was the frontman and main songwriter for Toad the Wet Sprocket until the group disbanded in 1998. His most recent album is “Swallowed by the New.”

Kyle Cravens

This past Saturday night, the M-Shop in the Memorial Union was host to singer/songwriter Glenn Phillips. The Student Union Board sought out Phillips for his powerful lyrics and song themes which were both on display during his performance.

The road that led Phillips to the M-Shop is a winding and exciting one. At the age of only 15, Phillips founded the chart topping 90s alternative-rock band Toad the Wet Sprocket in 1986. By 1998, however, the band had split up for the members to pursue other interests, and it didn’t take long for Phillips to find his own musical identity, releasing his first solo album Abulum in 2000.

There was no opening act during this performance, so fans did not have to wait long for Phillips. His down to Earth nature was evident from his very steps. He gave a deceivingly young impression, although here he was relating to a prominently middle aged crowd, people who grew up listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket and fell in love with his voice to the point that they continue to support his solo work today.

In fact, many members of the audience sang along to almost every song, which signified a strong Ames following for the California native. This was his first appearance on campus since 2006, and although some vocal fans pointed out that he frequently goes through Des Moines, Philips just laughed and said, “Des Moines just isn’t the same as Ames. It’s about time I came back here.”

He stood on stage alone, but made up for the lack of sound with heartfelt lyrics, and a cycle between loud and soft strumming that created an honest atmosphere. Although he has been all over the world touring and promoting different genres, one constant in his work is his warm, relatable voice.

His setlist kicked off with newer songs off his solo albums, but it wasn’t until he performed one of Toad the Wet Sprockets better known hits “All I Want” that the audience really sat up for.

As he took the audience through his setlist, he shared some stories about the backgrounds of songs and his beliefs about life.

“2017, for me, is the year of starting to accept people you hate,” Phillips said.

We learned a lot from Phillips during this performance. His dad studied physics at Iowa State, he loves being incarnated, and he tries not to drink anymore, while a well-placed hallucinogen isn’t out of the question.

These shaman like teachings and sayings were fitting for an Earth day concert, and the audience treated Phillips like an old friend. In the end, Phillip’s best messages came through his songs. Standing out in the setlist was “The Easy Ones”, “Baptista”, and another Toad the Wet Sprocket jam, “Walk the Ocean”.

After the set, the audience demanded more, and Phillips did just that by coming out and performing a 2-song encore. The first song was a Spanish acoustic song and Phillips almost made a 180 as he sang the entire song in the indigenous Spanish language, which was impressive. To end, he got the crowd to stomp their feet and get involved during the song “Held Up”.

Hopefully Glenn Phillips returns soon to Ames, as dedicated fans and longtime supporters will always be here to greet him.