KROQ’s annual Weenie Roast benefit concert has less and less the feel of a single-minded event (the plentiful Hawaiian decor aside) and increasingly the vibe of a musical free-for-all. At this year’s sold-out event, all-out anarchy — both onstage and in the sun-baked audience — often seemed just a moment away.
The always-impressive lineup this time was heavy on the testosterone, which made for a long, rowdy, messy and fun day for the 15,000-plus attendees, who started arriving around noon for second-stage turns from local young rock band Lit, DJ crew the Freestylers and Australian pop-punks the Living End.
Mainstage got going around 3 p.m. with veteran punk outfit Pennywise, modern goth group Orgy and Orange County rock band Smash Mouth delivering well-received short sets, followed by the rap-metal noise of smart-mouthed Detroit singer Kid Rock, who, despite his band’s weak music, was the first act to get ticketholders up and jumping.
Pennsylvania cerebral rockers Live and O.C. party band Sugar Ray followed with decent mid-afternoon turns, mostly dominated by familiar radio hits, but both played low-energy sets compared to the rest of the lineup. A new Live song, “The Dolphin’s Cry,” and Sugar Ray’s series of heavy metal song snippets — think Iron Maiden and Twisted Sister — were the respective highlights.
Porn star Janine (of “Blondage” fame) introduced the popular teen punk band Blink-182, whose bassist Mark Hoppus performed the first couple of songs with only his bass between the crowd and his naked frame. The band’s exuberant display, promoting their new top-10 MCA album “Enema of the State,” sparked a venue-wide food fight.
Many on hand were clearly Limp Bizkit partisans. Singer Fred Durst repeatedly barked at the crowd to rush the stage, but few took his advice, though some did light a large bonfire on the grass. The group’s upcoming sophomore album is one of the most anticipated rock releases of the season.
Metallica, otherwise on break between legs of a European tour, were the clear stars of the day. The veteran Bay Area group played a powerhouse though straightforward set of Metalli-hits, including “Battery” and “Master of Puppets,” as well as the usual dose of cover songs, including opener “So What” by Anti-Nowhere League and the latest addition to the band’s repertoire: “Die, Die My Darling,” by the Misfits.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, not surprisingly, had a tough time playing right after Metallica (a tough assignment for any band), and recurrent sound problems as well as visible tension between the band members, didn’t help matters.
During the group’s fourth song — “Around the World,” from the Chili Peppers’ excellent new “Californication” (WB) album — bassist Flea was so fed up with tech problems he tossed his instrument into the mosh pit, inciting a frenzy that resulted in a number of permanent seats becoming unbolted from the concrete and being passed overhead.
The Peppers closed on a high note with a ferocious take on oldie “Me and My Friends,” followed by an onstage tantrum by Flea, who took all his frustrations out on the band’s rented equipment.
Event closed after midnight, back on the second stage, as sets from Moby and the Lo-Fidelity Allstars created stimulating grooves for the late-night dancers and ravers in attendance. Weenie Roast proceeds this year benefit the local anti-gang organization Homeboy Industries.
KROQ Weenie Roast