No longer a Fiesta, the annual KROQ Weenie Roast returned to Irvine, California on the first Saturday in June 2010. The long lasting corporate rock radio festival is not only a celebration of Summer’s arrival, but a chance for the stations simple-minded fan base to act like complete and total douche-bags. Despite this fan-base of brainless burnouts, KROQ always puts together a top-notch line up of artists young and old. Blessed enough to score a center terrace seat inside the out-dated live nation venue once known as Irvine Meadows – I headed south in hopes that great music could not be overpowered by an obtuse audience.
I have to admit, I only saw Passion Pit in action for about 84 seconds. The rest of their set was spent trying to get into Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Trained guards in yellow winbreakers conducted long slow searches yet failed to stop 16,000+ from bringing booze, drugs and various sex toys into the Live Nation venue. With the Bud Light Side stage about 600 yards from the line, we could hear Passion Pit just fine. I feel I didn’t miss out on anything standing in line. I have to assume cheesy synth-dance grooves over vocals that sound as if a cat is being skinned look pretty boring at 2:30 in the afternoon. Really, the only time the music worked for me was when I was close enough to watch a female guard (keep in mind lines for searches are split into male/female) softly fondle the breasts of all patrons in her line. Blessed by the good Lord with man hands, her touch was soft, slowly feeling for “joints” and “other contraband.” I won’t lie, for a moment I was even jealous of her. No matter what I do in life, I have the feeling I will never enjoy my work as much as this woman does. The way she rubbed the female buttocks – lets just say you were not sneaking any credit cards or parking ticket past her. For me, I just had to remove my cap off my bottle of water and throw it away. As soon as my guard turned to feel up the next boy in line, I made a throwing motion into the trash can without even taking my top off. I know, it’s true I am a bad ass.
The first band that mattered at the Weenie Roast was the Gainesville, Florida four piece (five if you count the touring keyboardist) Against Me!
I planned it perfectly as I found my spot just as they took to the stage. With a new record White Crosses
releasing in less than 72 hours from their stepping upon the stage – Against Me! opened with a very a straight up pop sounding song that I can only assume is new. The next 25 minutes ended up being everything I expected from my second Against Me! show. A few new songs, a solid amount of material from their 2007 breakout record New Wave,
and a dash of classics. The Bonnaroo veterans packed in as much as they could in the abbreviated time slot, often not stopping between songs. One highlight was the new records title track which flowed perfectly into the classic “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong.” With the exception of the keyboards which felt out of place – the band sounded tight. “White People for Peace”, “New Wave” and even their current single “I Was A Teenage Anarchist” sounded as if the band had been on the road for months. Of course the biggest ovation from the crowd came from the bands most known rock radio number – “Thrash Unreal.” The folks in the crowd who actually listen to the radio sang along to the bah bah bah
chorus oblivious to the actual meaning of the lyrics. Having now seen these guys twice on the festival circuit, I really need to make it to a full on Against Me! show.
While you won’t find the Chicago based band on my ipod, I have never had any issue with Chevelle. I understand the comparisons to Tool and have enjoyed the bands string of rock radio hits over the past decade. In my two previous trips to the Verizon Wireless Side-Stage Festival Grounds (aka a parking lot about the size of two-three football fields) the side-by-side stages have been set up in what would be the end zone. It made logistical sense. So leave it to some genius to switch the format and set the stages up at about the 40 yard line. In doing this, there was far less room for fans, thus making it impossible to move around, let alone between stages. Because of this, I watched Chevelle from the other stage (thus no video) not wanting to miss a second of Deftones. Their 30 minute set was solid wall of hard rock. I only recognized their hits – “The Red” and “Send The Pain Below” – which of course got a large reaction from the crowd. The way I see it, I get to cross Chevelle off the list of bands I have never seen live – and they were the perfect warm up for Deftones.
Had it not been for winning tickets to their Jimmy Kimmel Live
taping – this would have been lucky #13 for Deftones and I. Having never seen the band in the same venue twice – I assumed the Sacto rockers would be playing before STP on the main stage. Knowing that Deftones shows loose something in seated venues, I was fired up when I learned the band would be headlining the Bud Light side stage. As a Deftones fan, I was shocked to find comments like this on the KROQ.com website:
@Chris writes: MOVE DEFTONES TO MAIN STAGE NOW! LET DIRTY HEADS HEADLINE 2ND STAGE! THIS IS RIDICULOUS
@ME writes: the deftones are the only reason i’m going! why the hell are they going on at 4 and some sh!!!ty side stage!
Yea I agree when they announced that the Deftones are playing I was like I’m not missing them but side stage?? Wtf?? Right?
So you see, I am not being harsh when I call KROQ fans brainless. Deftones for 45 minutes in the parking lot – how can one not be thrilled?
The band opened the set with “Rocket Skates.” Sadly the song never had a chance. For almost the entire song the crowd was unable to hear front man Chino Moreno’s vocals. So in the event you are looking for an instrumental version of “Rocket Skates” the 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast is for you. As soon as the mic issue was solved the band launched into the title track of their recently released record – Diamond Eyes. Even with fans packed in tight, two circle pits managed to form in front of the stage. Those pits calmed a bit with “Knife Party” but that break was short lived as they swelled even larger when the band busted out their first taste of radio success – “My Own Summer (Shove It).” Having seen the band in a similar setting at the San Francisco stop of the ’98 Vans Warped Tour, it felt right hearing so many songs from their 1997 release Around The Fur. The albums title track as well as “Lotion” are prime examples of what Deftones are all about. One of the biggest reactions the band received was from Fur’s biggest hit “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away).” While some fans grumbled over sound issues from guitarist Stephen Carpenter – most just went nuts over the chance to see the band in such an intimate setting. After playing their biggest hit “Change (In The House of Flies) the band closed their set with “Birthmark.” Having acted the previous night as if this was some sort of treat – I was hoping for “7 Words” or “Bored” when Moreno announced they would close with a song from Adrenaline. Regardless, there is a reason I have seen this band 14 times – they never disappoint. Looking forward to show 15 this fall with Mastodon & Alice in Chains.
The Dirty Heads
I decided after 90+ mins at the side stage I wanted to empty my bladder and grab a beer. Irvine Meadows (sorry, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre) was once a ground breaking venue (as it is my understanding it is one of the first sheds in the country). However now it is out of date and in major need of renovation. Lines for food, drink and restrooms are borderline criminal. Men’s restrooms average 8 urinals and three stalls. With limited rest rooms, you can imagine how long these lines are. The lines for the women’s rest rooms are even worse. Live Nation saves a buck by allowing volunteers to man the beer booths (some of the profit off $13.00 cups of brew are donated to charity). Not even allowed to accept tips, the volunteers did their best to keep lines moving. However a major lack of volunteers and small work space resulted in me missing the up and coming band cover “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones as well as the rest of their set. Granted I don’t know a thing about The Dirty Heads minus their recent hit, I had hoped to catch a bit of their set just to give them a shot. Perhaps next time?!?!?!?!
Cage The Elephant
I admit, I have lost touch with rock radio since I got an ipod. However, Cage The Elephant is one of the bands that has really stuck out to me on the rare occasions my ears have been tickled by KROQ over the past couple of years. Having recently picked up their self-titled album, I was excited to see the band who shares a home state with Wild Turkey Bourbon. Sadly, I missed their first two songs in lines for not only beer as well as entrance to the Terrace section. While solid, I am not sure if Cage is ready for prime time. I realize it’s no easy task to rock such a large space in the sunlight, but the bands rowdy sound felt as if it would fit more into a club or theatre vs. a large scale amphitheatre. Despite this – the band did an outstanding job rocking songs like “In One Ear”, “Back Against The Wall” and “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” and I expect big things to come.
As the rotating stage allowed Cage The Elephant to exit and Spoon to enter, I decided to go stand in line for the bathroom again. Having seen Spoon twice before, I knew I was not missing out on anything. To me, they are musically un-original and come off like self-righteous dickwads. I hear folks blow them like they are the second coming of Coldplay Christ – yet no one can explain what makes them so fantastic. So yeah, they came, they played, they sucked and won the “Reverend Justito’s Worst Band Of The Festival” award. This is a pretty amazing accomplishment, considering my hate for a certain band further sharing the bill.
My first trip to the Weenie Roast was in 2007.
With “Lazy Eye” just breaking the charts – Silversun Pickups stole the show. This was rather amazing considering they played the side stage. I fell in love with their record Carnavas
over the following months, but the bands follow up Swoon
left a lot to be desired in my heart. The band opened the set with the slow building “Growing Old Is Getting Old.” While the setlist was not really what I was hoping for (all but one song was from Swoon
) the Silverlake four piece did not disappoint. Songs like “The Royal We” warmed the crowd who were chilled by the marine layer that had taken over the once warm day. In our section, we had some very loud and flamboyant gay men who when not requesting for bassist Nikki Monninger to expose her tatas; insisted on screamed for the band to play “Substitution” even well after it has been played. With a loud idiots behind me and so-so setlist I struggled for the first 2/3rd of the set. I needed it to be so much more – I needed to connect. Thankfully the last two songs that made me fall in love with Silversun Pickups all over again. Granted they were the bands biggest hits “Panic Switch” and “Lazy Eye” Silversun Pickups always wins over the crowd over in the end. In fact – it is physically fucking impossible to see Silversun and not rock your ass off. For the first time all day, the band got fans in the seated section to get off their backsides and move. Both songs were huge distorted monsters that unlike friends/former tour mates Cage The Elephant managed to fill the cavernous venue. If it was not for a miracle at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre – there is no doubt I would be watching this band headline the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on August 6th.
I have no shame in proclaiming that I LOVE Paramore. I own all three of the bands albums and have never had the opportunity to catch the group live. The 2010 KROQ Weenie Roast was my chance to do just that. With a buzz in the air from the final two Silversun Pickup songs the young band hit the stage like the Toronto Blue Jays are currently hitting baseballs. The did a wonderful job by packing their time slot with hit after hit. Early on – energetic front-woman Hayley Williams lead the band through older numbers like “That’s What You Get” and “Pressure.” I have always cried foul when fans of “pop/dance” music defend lip syncing because of lack of breath from gaudy dance numbers. Williams is much like a pinball bashing across the stage all while nailing her massive vocals. I’m always amazes me when huge vocals come out of tiny people, which only adds to Williams allure. Equally amazing, yet often overlooked is the bands guitarist Josh Farro. Part of what won me over to these young pups was their love for one of my favorite bands – Failure.
This kid has a great ear for melody rich gnarling distortion that just makes the hair on my back rise in delight. On a totally unrelated note – I would be doing a disservice if I did not mention the pot-bellied Latina sitting next to me. For most of the show, she was reading Twilight
on her Kindle. When Paramore played “Decode” from the Twilight
Soundtrack – the gal put her Kindle down and rocked out. By the time the band was on to “Brick By Boring Brick” the gal had returned to her electronic-book which held her focus the rest of the night. I won’t lie, I was sad when Williams announced they would be playing their last song. Paramore are a great live band with tight musicianship and raw power. They know how to play up to the crowd, which of course meant they saved their biggest hit “Misery Business” for last. Once again giving 110% the bands confirmed something I already knew – Paramore is something special.
I don’t own DEVO records. I know a few songs, “Whip It” being the obvious favorite. I know a lot of folks act as if DEVO is some huge important band. I suppose they are if keyboards wet your whistle. I know they wear plastic hats. I know I once ran into Mark Mothersbaugh when I was eating breakfast with my mother-in-law. I have nothing against DEVO, so the chance to see them for a few minutes at a festival didn’t bother me. I don’t think I will be going out and buying any DEVO records, but they were cool. I always love that feeling at an all-day show when light loses the battle to dark while a band plays on stage. I felt excited watching strange video images as the post-punk/new wave band originally from Akron Ohio did their thing. I headed for the restroom during their last song. I am glad I got to see DEVO for the simple fact it gives me hipster bragging rights. I still don’t get it.
How is it 2010 and the three headliners of the KROQ Weenie Roast were all major players in the heroin haze known as the nineteen nineties? The one who OD’d, the one who should have OD’d and the one who couldn’t OD no matter how hard they tried.
I hate Courtney Love. I hate her music even more. Terrible songs, terrible vocals, terrible, terrible terrible. My original plan was to post not one
, but two
reviews from Jay Porks instead of talking crap on the living breathing trash dumpster. Then something changed as I paid a third visit to the filthy restroom (I have a small bladder and stayed hydrated – sue me). I couldn’t believe my ears, the nasty puss filled scab was opening with “Sympathy For The Devil” by The Rolling Stones. Not only was it the second Stones cover I heard while in line, I actually was bummed I was not inside the venue. After watching a crystal meth tweaker piss into a trash can, I made it back to my seat around the time “Malibu” was finishing up. As Love lead her hired hands through more songs, I noticed something. While no Hole song will ever sound good, she has assembled a group of top notch musicians who manage to keep the music focused and on course. From what I have seen of Hole back in the day, the crazed front-woman often lead her pack into disaster. In 2010, someone in her camp has figured out that with a really solid backing band – she can sound halfway decent. In fact, and it pains me to say it I actually cracked a smile or two. The bitch has fabulous stage banter. Who else introduces a Leonard Cohen cover with a discussion on personal douching habits? I can’t believe I am going to admit this, but I found myself rocking out a bit to “Miss World.” After bashing the lame requests of the crowd, Courtney obliged and performed “Doll Parts” but only after making fun of the song. I even forgave Courtney for lying last night. In dedicating an Alex Chilton cover to Kevin Weatherly, she thanked the program director for playing her records from Faith No More to the terrible (her words not mine) solo record she put out a few years ago. Regardless, not only did I survive a Hole show, they were better than Spoon. I never thought I would say that in a million years.
Stone Temple Pilots
STP was the main factor in buying tickets for this years event. While the solid support was there – Stone Temple Pilots
are in a league of their own – not to mention they just have a sound that works for summer time outdoors. Great riffs, great grooves – when these four come together magic happens. It’s that rare spark that separates the legends from the greats and STP’s spark is big and bright. Taking the stage moments past 9pm the band opened with a triple shot of modern rock classics. From the opening notes of “Vasoline” I knew it was going to be an amazing set. “Wicked Garden” has always been my favorite STP radio staple, so having this in the two hole simply increased my already high level of excitement. In fine Weenie Roast fashion it was around the third song “Crackerman” that lug-nut fans began a giant bon-fire upon the lawn. The foul smell of burning pizza boxes and beer cups choked the amphitheatre as the DeLeo brothers played their trademark interlocking grooves.
The band used their Weenie Roast appearance to bust out some songs from their just released self-titled album. While not a bad song “Hickory Dichotomy” didn’t seem to fit as well into the hard rocking set as lets say “Between The Lines.” Front-man Scott Weiland played a trick on the crowd introducing another new song only to launch into “Plush.” While a majority of the sets songs came from the bands first two albums; a big highlight was “Tumble In The Rough” a song the band admits they have neglected over the years.
It was clear the audience wanted hits – and the band delivered. “Big Empty” (dedicated to The Big Easy) “Interstate Love Song” and “Sex Type Things” were all highlights. With everyone on their feet, the band left for a brief break before returning for a two song encore. Screaming into his Megaphone – Weiland lead the band into a nasty version of “Dead and Bloated” before closing with another winner from the Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Giftshop album – “Trippin’ On A Hole In A Paper Heart.” From the deep emotion and slight struggle in Weiland’s voice to the soaring solos of Dean DeLeo, it was the perfect ending to a wonderful day of music.
Sublime w/ Rome
Long before Bradley Nowell was found dead in a shitty San Francisco hotel room, I was making fun of his crappy band. When he passed, I laughed at my friends over their loss (I admit – I was a brain-dead 16 year old). When I heard that the living members of Sublime had reunited with a new singer, I grew angry. Look, I may not be a fan of Sublime, but if I know anything I know that it’s Bradley’s music. Just because some pudgie Ewok looking thing gets good playing those songs alone in his bedroom does not mean you have to piss all over your legacy. Sadly for Bradley’s family the two other guys who were in Sublime have. Now, I realize many fans believe it pays tribute to the music – however it’s anything but. The reason Blind Melon and The Doors failed with their new front men is because their bands had lost their voice – their souls. What happened to Long Beach Dub All-Stars? It might not be the profitable way to honor the music, but it’s the correct way. Walking the long path back to the car, I could hear the crowd singing along to opening number “Date Rape” drowning out the band in the process. If you want a Sublime w/ Rome review – once again I suggest you click here
, because you are not getting one from me. For as wonderful as the intent of the KROQ Weenie Roast is, the fans themselves cause the event to fail. People don’t come to enjoy music, they come to get wasted and party with their friends. It’s the reason they cry when Deftones are added to the side stage and the reason they quickly forget their legend for a cheap knock off of the original. Perhaps as a music-snob I am too harsh on casual music fans, but it’s only because I love music so much and it breaks my heart to drown in a sea of disrespect.