Saturday, June 5, 2010 marked the 18th Annual KROQ Weenie Roast, if you live in Los Angeles and listen to rock music, hopefully you've heard of the KROQ Weenie Roast. It's an all-day outdoor music festival that combines the grilling of hot dogs, shady picnic areas, the need for sunscreen and the best of today and yesteryear's rock n' roll music. Atmosphere is essential to a concert going experience, Live Nation and the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater provided nothing but a smooth and relaxing environment for all Weenie Roasters. Their ability to provide a tight-ship production attracted show goers of every walk of life, some even traveled lone-solider. While standing in line, a 42 year old man struck up conversation with us, informing us he had been a loyal attendee for over seven years and always came alone, this was his spiritual time -- he shared tales of his family and professional life as we peacefully stood in the LONG line to enter the rock playground.
While atmosphere is important, music is the real reason everyone lathers themselves in sunscreen and stuffs joints in their girlfriends bras, plus this year the lineup was phenomenal. It was as if eras collided, covering sounds spanning the 70s' into the present with nary break from the musical grounds that be KROQ's Weenie Roast. You ask, "Awesome line up?" We retort, "Absolutely. Of course, no disappointments here." After all, the concert went from 2:00 PM to 11:00 PM and KROQ is one of the leading rock stations in Los Angeles.
The Temper Trap was the perfect band to kick-off the start of another sunny Saturday music festival. Their playful atmospheric sounds started promptly at 2:00pm, resounding ambition and inspiration throughout the crowd. These Aussies really brought their game face and usually the first time slot gets shorted an audience, killer sound and acquiring new fans but due to the quality production put on by KROQ the band was not shorted any aspect of playing a major music festival. The bands rhythmic, pop, indie rock sound was the blend needed to set the picnic in full motion.
I first discovered Passion Pit on Hype Machine two years ago, instantly their sound was infectious. Their pop-electronic sound is enlightening and friendly, plus their quality use of the synth effects and energetic stage presence have you wanting to dance even more than the album version. The youngsters played tunes from both, "Chunk of Change" and "Manners," all of which had fans singing along and bodies jumping. They were the perfect band to follow up, Temper Trap and to prevent the sun from zapping your energy early on.
VIP invitee's were provided with a full fledge BBQ buffet that included everything from corn on the cob, BBQ chicken, weenies and for those animal lovers they provided top-shelf, homemade veggie burgers. Of course, all got cookies, lemonade and other concert delicacies. We were privileged enough to unknowingly sit down with a video game entrepreneur and Blizzard employee along with his proudly bumming sidekick. The lax environment created at the ground had all open, chatting and exuding friendliness to all those sitting on the lawn nearby, at the tree or simply in the bleachers next to them, the conversations definitely enhanced the overall experience. Back to the music.
Chevelle melted faces - and not simply because it was blistering hot outside - with, “Send the Pain Below” and “The Red” bringing us way, way back to the past, and they ended the set with “The Clincher." Their quality rock-n-roll has never eluded KROQ play, but they are rarely seen live in Southern California, making this appearance a very special treat for hardcore fans of the band.
Legendary rockers, the Deftones, capped off the first part of the Weenie Roast. Organizers set it up the event, so that the first half of the day was spent at Stage 2 and then the remainder of the evening was spent in the Verizon Amphitheater. Every time I watch a legend perform, I know how they garnered the respectful title of 'legendary' and the Deftones were no different. They had sound problems all over the place but the band just plowed on with one of the most lively and growling performances of the day. Since there were so many Deftones devotees there, I don't think anyone minded Moreno's mic going out - they knew the majority of the lyrics - and his projection is outstanding. However, no joke, it was by far the loudest set of the day, so much so that I had ear plugs in and it was still overbearingly loud. However, showgoers did not seem effected in this same manner.
Spoon was not a band that I permitted to really rock my iPod, especially after catching them at Street Scene in San Diego a few years back and then after seeing their vastly improved performance and on point musicianship the respect has turned the table. They weren't the greatest highlight or change of opinion about my preference of music that took place during the day.
If you have even a tiny interest in the music Silversun Pickups puts out, you would’ve enjoyed this set. They were the catalyst of the night with hard hitting rock that reved the crowd up for what was to come. The set transcended from “Panic Switch” into “Lazy Eye” which was a seriously magical combination. The only problem with this set is that it was too short, but hey, that gives us purpose to catch them the next time they roll trough town. Gotta keep the fans wanting more. Psych’s truthful side note: I’ll have to take a moment to admit that I had no idea the lead singer was a male. Scratched Diamonds side note: Clearly Psych does not spend enough time perusing the home of music - MySpace.
How do you beat Silversun Pickups? Well, with Paramore. If you’ve read the BTH review of, Brand New Eyes, you know the mixed feelings about the band. Or should we say, once mixed feelings about the band? It's time to admit, "if ever in my life I knew I had been wrong about something, this is it." The adorable Hayley Williams not only brought the energy of a rabbit on speed, but they sounded really, really good. So good, in fact, that I take back everything bad I’ve ever said about Paramore. They know how to work their audience and have a well-developed honed sound and despite their youthful age are all seasoned musicians. I mean during the set Hayley announced that the drummer, Jeremy Davis, had just turned 20 the day before. Are you joking me? You know when you are not even permitted to drink a beer yet but are already playing to audiences over 10,000 you were always meant to drum.
Honestly, neither of us expected much from these 'old timers.' I thought I wouldn't even have to write anything more. Devo is amazing. Not only did they have costumes, choreographed dancing to their songs, and energy that 60 year old men just shouldn’t have, they had a video show behind them that was beyond hilarious. At some point there were dancing panties with cat’s eyes crying, like a sexy Hello Kitty and that was only a portion of the artistic social commentary the group offered. Bottom line, the crowd loved Devo, and now we love Devo. There’s not a word I can say that’s bad about them. They were definitely a band that stunned, shocked and excited all. I mean who is not inspired by men who are nearly 30 years older than you and can dance better, longer and just classier than you? Kudos men, KUDOS!
Hole has been a band of controversy since long before the death of rocks beloved Kurt Cobain and Courtney has always powered through the gossip, rumor and drug use and came out on top of all the grunge. Her dynamic and iconic voice was not the only thing she had under control this night, she suckered the Love of all. As the crowd cheered, "Courtney we LOVE You!" She proudly responded with a "Fuck You! Now tell me Fuck You!" Not only that, Courtney was the only lead singer to demand the crowd respect the musicians she was blessed to have work with her.
I always knew that C.Love would come back to the stage like a phoenix free from the ashes and she did just that but don't get it twisted this not-so-skinny little bitch is "Fucking OLD." While on stage Courtney boasted of her successes and flaws alike, truly expressing her gratitude for the whole world: KROQ for always playing her songs, even the ones that sucked, fans for talking shit about her when they'd never even spent a moment with her, men for sleeping with her and especially to those that were still cheering for her. She bitched about the audiences request to hear, Doll Parts, stating, "You guys know that song is only 3 chords and I wrote in a bathroom, right?" Despite her dislike of our choice she still belted it out for us. Also, her new bandmates not only have mastered the classic Hole material but the familiar sound of "Nobody's Daughter" still embodies all that is Hole and proves that Courtney was always the true ear behind her maestros. She has picked yet another, top-knotch crew of musicians to perform alongside her. She ended the set with a classic Courtney moment, where she let us all know she did not give a blowjob to Scott Weiland, he did not need one to perform.
Stone Temple Pilots are another group of grunge legends who performed. Their set list was impeccably picked, starting with power songs from Core, and only singing three song from their self-titled latest release, "Stone Temple Pilots." Weiland seems to have lost that gut-wailing prowess that his voice once resonated. Whether his voice was never as powerful live as on CD or if it’s just changed from the aging process, it is definitely not as expected. If you’ve heard the song, “Between the Lines," you know how Weiland sounds today and it’s just not the same. That being said, it is still Stone Temple Pilots, and everything else was absolutely perfect.
At this moment I’d like to advise our audience that we did not stay to see Sublime with Rome, and there’s a very good reason for this. Neither Scratched Diamond nor myself believe that there can be a Sublime without Bradley Nowell. While Stone Temple Pilots might sound different vocally, it’s still Scott Weiland behind the lyrical wheels. With Rome…well, the concept disturbs our moral sensibilities. They are icons, and it’s just not the same. Of course, even as we were leaving, we could hear the crowd singing along with every word in the background, and I’m sure a good time was had by all.
I’ve been to a few KROQ concert festivals before, and this definitely rated as one of the best. The transitions between all of the bands were smoother than silk. The lineup was impressive, powerful and iconic, so much so that I can’t imagine a better way that we could’ve spent Saturday night.