This ninth edition of the KROQ Weenie Roast, which saw the annual all-day charity festival return to its traditional Irvine home after it was held in Anaheim last year, was largely divided into distinct segments repping two contrasting sides of modern rock music.
There were the angry young hard rock bands (Disturbed, Papa Roach, Linkin Park, Crazytown), who toiled under the hot afternoon sun, and the superior veteran headliners (Jane’s Addiction, Blink-182, 311, surprise guests Stone Temple Pilots), who brought the better music and benefited from their post-sunset show times.
Occupying a mid-day space somewhere between those groupings was the intimate and narcotic strains of Coldplay, who dedicated “Don’t Panic” to 311, and the danceable punk-metal-pop stew of the Cult. Nearly all the bands on the bill were promoting a newly released album, though it was always the older, more familiar, songs that attendees responded to, so set lists were stocked with the KROQ hits instead of many new tunes.
L.A. Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal’s private helicopter could be seen circling low over the amphitheater as the sun was going down and as 311 was about to play, setting the stage for one of the day’s two musical surprises. Following an excellent 40-minute blast from the positive-minded reggae-funk-hip-hop-rock crew that included crowd faves like “All Mixed Up,” “Beautiful Disaster” and “Down,” O’Neal came out onstage and brought down the house as he led 311 through a wild rendition of his new song “Psycho,” which he recorded with members of 311 and Korn. He attempted to crowd-surf at song’s end, a tough task for the audience members attempting to hold up his 300-plus pound frame.
Staind, which recently had the nation’s top-selling album for three weeks, was up next, and though the band never quite juiced the crowd the way O’Neal had, the Boston-based rockers, fronted by compelling vocalist Aaron Lewis, impressed with their own brand of sensitive-guy metal, highlighted by smash hit “It’s Been Awhile” (which has been No. 1 on rock radio for more than two months) and new single “Outside.”
A 30-minute set by Stone Temple Pilots was the event’s other surprise, and the band’s stellar run-through of catalog tracks (“Sex Type Thing,” “Interstate Love Song”) and a couple of cuts from its decent new Atlantic album “Shangri-La Dee Da” was marred by thrown cups of beer. Singer Scott Weiland was continually drenched until guitarist Dean DeLeo jumped into the crowd, confronted one of the offenders and had him ejected.
All those bad vibes were forgotten when Blink-182 took to the rotating stage for some of its best melodic, potty-mouthed nuggets, like “What’s My Age Again” and new single “The Rock Show.” The trio’s set dragged on a bit long, though, and by the time the pop-punk delinquents got to their best song, the teen suicide ode “Adam’s Song,” many in the sold-out house were burned out and sitting quietly.
The haunting and majestic power of Jane’s Addiction music was an appropriate way to end the festivities. Singer Perry Farrell performed in a green jump outfit reminiscent of Jim Carrey in “The Mask,” while bandmates Dave Navarro (guitar) and Martyn Lenoble (bass) were covered in body paint designs.
The group’s 45-minute perf, a warmup for a U.S. tour this summer, included such outdoor-friendly numbers as opener “Summertime Rolls,” the throbbing “Mountain Song” and a funky new version of “Been Caught Stealing.” The second stage included solid afternoon turns from two hot young bands, Sum 41 (its debut album just went gold) and New Found Glory, and two more seasoned groups, punk veterans Pennywise (who along with 311 also performed later on Saturday in Las Vegas at the Warp tour) and Aussie punk-a-billy trio the Living End.
Proceeds are divvied up among numerous local charities.