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Concert review: KROQ's 2010 Weenie Roast featuring Hole, Paramore, Stone Temple Pilots and more

Alt-rock nostalgia hung heavy in the pot-scented air Saturday night at Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, where recently resuscitated versions of Sublime, Stone Temple Pilots, Hole and Devo played KROQ-FM’s annual Weenie Roast concert.

“You guys remember this little ditty,” Courtney Love assured the sold-out crowd before revving up the serrated grunge pop of Hole’s 1998 hit “Celebrity Skin.” And sure enough, the audience roared in recognition, seemingly grateful for something familiar after a handful of tunes from “Nobody’s Daughter,” the unremarkable Hole album Love and a cast of new bandmates released earlier this year.

Other acts echoed Love’s acknowledgment of a creeping sense of cultural obsolescence.

“Here’s one you might remember,” said Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, introducing that group’s early-MTV staple “Whip It.”

Later, Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland pulled a telling fake-out, baiting fans with the prospect of “another new one” from the group’s just-released self-titled effort, then launching into “Plush,” its 1992 smash. The feeling of relief inside Verizon was palpable.

Yet if Saturday’s show often felt like a blast from modern rock’s past, it also made a strong argument for the restorative value of old-school showmanship.

Or it did until its final hour, anyway, when Sublime With Rome took the stage for a headlining performance as awkward and charmless as the band’s litigiously inspired name. Sublime With Rome pairs the two surviving members of Long Beach’s Sublime -- bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh -- with Rome Ramirez, a young singer-guitarist saddled with the unenviable task of filling in for Sublime’s original frontman, Bradley Nowell, who died in 1996. (The group’s unwieldy handle reflects a legal détente between the band and Nowell’s estate.)

In hugely appealing mid-’90s hits like “Santeria” and “What I Got,” Sublime combined mellow ska grooves and hard-edged punk riffs, a now-familiar fusion that embodied the duality at the center of Nowell’s complicated hood-poet persona. On Saturday, Ramirez remembered the words to those songs but failed to make them his own or to channel Nowell’s scrappy gravitas.

Stone Temple Pilots summoned a more believable esprit de corps during their hourlong set, which closed with a group hug among these notoriously combative grunge-era survivors. With the exception of “Between the Lines,” the album’s shamelessly Nirvana-esque single, selections from “Stone Temple Pilots” didn’t deliver the same charge as older songs such as “Vasoline” and “Sex Type Thing.” But the band sounded surprisingly forceful as Weiland stalked the stage with undimmed rock-star charisma.

Devo put similar muscle into fresh renditions of its once-edgy New Wave oldies, pummeling through “Girl U Want” with a punky propulsion that made it clear why many of Weenie Roast’s younger acts (including Paramore, Spoon and L.A.’s Silversun Pickups) peppered their early-evening appearances with shout-outs to the arty innovators.

Songs from “Something for Everybody,” a new Devo album due out next week, adhered to the band’s off-kilter formula but landed more softly, which made you wonder: Without a place in the larger pop landscape, how long will these reactivated cultural satirists survive?

-- Mikael Wood


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Comments () | Archives (6)

DEVO was great when I saw them at Coachella in April and thousands of young people stayed up late into the night/ early into the morning to watch them rock.

Imagine that, another useless review from the dying mainstream media known as the newspaper. Did we go to the same show? Oh, we did, but you showed up at what, 6:30pm? Where do you go into details about Deftones obliterating the side stage? Where do you mention any song that is not a hit on KROQ? Ya know, if you wanted to relate to dinosaurs who still read the Times - you could have mentioned that Miss Love covered both The Rolling Stones and Leonard Cohen. Perhaps you could have discussed The Dirty Heads (similar in sound to Sublime) who not only opened the main stage - but covered The Stones as well?

You talk more about the history of Sublime, instead of their set. This is not a concert review, this is an editorial. Perhaps next time LA Times could send an actual music fan to the show - not some dead souled critic like Mr. Wood.

(PS - for an actual review of the Weenie Roast - feel free to click my URL link).

STP rocks! Believable? This must be your first soiree w/ their performance. The live act is always something to see.

I LOVED IT!!

STP new stuff sounds great. Its obviously not going to match there huge older singles, those songs have been around for years.

hey, just read your article on the 2010 wennie roast, as a child of the 80's and hitting my teen years in the 90's - sublimes music always struck a hopefull out look for the future. As with brads passing, and the unfathomable prospect of bud, eric and troy trying to move on... something Sublime
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublime_%28philosophy%29) happend beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation, after 13 Years a glimmer of hope - Sublime reunited. Your review of sublime with rome was the most glib and ignorant artical ive have EVER read. Brad had 8+ years groving with eric and bud forming a on stage musical relationships i havent witnesses since the grateful dead... and u expect in 2 years rome can just slide right in there? your artical just shows how how musical immature you are. Romes got some huge shoe's to fill no doubt, but its the haters like your that tarnishes not only sublime's name but of brad nowell. So in closing go put on your fall out boy cd, and let a real journalist cover the current music scene.


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