Show Coverage: Narcotic Wasteland – The Token Lounge, October 15, 2022

Event: Accept – Too Mean To Die Tour

Venue: The Token Lounge – Westland, Michigan

Date: October 15, 2022

Artists Performed: Narcotic Wasteland, Accept

I wasn’t feeling it that night. It had been one of those weeks when I felt like the whole world could kiss my ass. I had no explanation, and wouldn’t have cared to share one if I had one to share. I considered staying home, despite the fact that on a normal day you can’t talk me out of going to a metal show. It sounds crazy to say I had to force myself to go see Accept – a band I’ve loved for thirty years – especially given a chance to see ex-Nile shredder Dallas Toler-Wade open with his band Narcotic Wasteland, but depression is a hell of a thing.

I received a press release for Narcotic Wasteland’s latest single, “The Best Times Have Passed,” a day or two prior. In it, Dallas Toler-Wade said that while he was writing the song, he felt “beat down.” Despite that, he continued, “I still manage to find good things within it all and pull myself out of it time and time again. I think we can all relate to the fact that that it’s not forever and we better make the best of things while we can.”

Those words got to me and remained to echo in my ears. I took them as a sign and made my way to Westland, Michigan.

The Token Lounge has been open since 1971 and is a cool place to see shows. There’s a ton of history there quite literally hanging on the walls as autographed photos of everyone from Nuclear Assault and Testament to Quiet Riot and Foghat. The place is Metal as fuck, if not a little too small to contain the noise it’s able to assemble. You can feel its smoky antiquity from the parking lot. Truth be told, you can smell it too, which may deter some from calling it comfortable. It’s not an unwelcoming environment, though. A lot of smiles and devil’s horns in there, for sure.

Narcotic Wasteland was welcomed to the stage by a surprisingly raucous crowd which doubled in size almost immediately upon the starting notes of “Pharma Culture.” Toler-Wade’s guitar chops are first-rate, to say the least, and a sneering grin was ever-present. It was evident from the get-go that the dude loves what he does.

Playing beside him was touring guitarist Brett Lee, definitely no slouch in the shred department, respectfully staying a bit reserved lest his obvious talent become obstructive. Drummer Joseph Howard was a powerhouse and doubled on vocals throughout the set.

“Morality and the Wasp,” “Bleed and Swell,” “Return to the Underground,” and the aforementioned “The Best Times Have Passed” were all stand-out moments in a set so full of death/thrash metal excellence that it was hard to keep from loving life. A stark contrast to how I felt less than two hours before as I reluctantly made the drive from Toledo. This is why we love metal shows! I’d like to personally thank Dallas Toler-Wade for helping me through a really tough night.

As I write this, there are five dates left on Narcotic Wasteland’s tour with Accept, which ends at The King of Clubs in Columbus, Ohio on October 29th. Also, keep an eye out for new music from Narcotic Wasteland in 2023.

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