Threatening skies gave way to warm sunny vibes at this third annual KROQ summer kick-off event, highlighted by ferocious sets from New York’s White Zombie and L.A.’s Rage Against the Machine, a slamming second stage techno-rave and two bands on opposite ends of the punk spectrum.
On the down side, Courtney Love looked ready for a long, long vacation.
The local alternative-rock station’s daylong concert, which benefits Heal the Bay and AIDS Project Los Angeles, delivered plenty of bang for attendees’ bucks ($ 25) with a baker’s dozen of mostly young modern rock groups.
Based on rabid crowd reaction, the bands of the day were horror-metal gurus White Zombie, whose throbbing grooves and syncopated beats were a righteous twilight fright, and local fave Rage Against the Machine, whose powerful guitar assault and pseudo-militant lyrics rocked the mostly teenaged crowd.
Zombie’s current Geffen album sits near the top of the charts, while Rage’s second Epic effort is expected later this year.
Big downer of the day was Love and her celebrated DGC band Hole. With only a week between her and her most recent drug overdose, Love was listless and unimaginative and appeared to bore the packed house, which failed to react to the band until the performance of hit “Doll Parts.” As always, Love threw herself into the crowd at set’s end.
The biggest surprise of the 10-hour show was closer the Ramones (Radioactive) , the grandfathers of punk rock. While many filed out for the long trek home, the Gotham veterans turned to sheer speed and volume to slay the remaining faithful, ripping through such nuggets as “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” at break-neck pace. Leader Joey Ramone’s recent threats to finally break up the seemingly immortal bunch may have to be rethought. Hardcore punk upstarts Rancid (Epitaph) turned in a solid, well-received effort that included recent KROQ smash “Salvation.” Orange County ska trio Sublime (MCA) were the only band that appeared comfortable playing in the sun; the group’s controversial novelty hit “Date Rape” was greeted by nothing but cheers except from the group’s Dalmatian, which hid under the drum riser during the tune. The most polished of the day’s acts was Soul Asylum. The band, fronted by the outspoken Dave Pirner, tried out new cuts from its just released “Let Your Dim Light Shine” (Columbia) as well as a couple of older songs, with the latter material’s more passionate tones winning out over the newer, more middle-of-the-road fare.
Also performing on the main stage and reviewed here recently were Britain’s answer to Pearl Jam, Bush (Trauma); guitar-pop whiz Matthew Sweet (Zoo); modern-progressive trio Throwing Muses; and the underwhelming English quartet Elastica. Also appearing in early sets were Sponge (Columbia) and Better Than Ezra (Elektra).
A second-stage rave dance area was highlighted by acclaimed techno-duo the Orb (Island) and lowlighted by an amateur-hour Traci Lords deejay turn.
Three years of KROQ Weenie Roasts have raised approximately $ 200,000 for the designated charities.