KROQ WEENIE ROAST 2011
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
June 3, 2011
Admit it. Musically, none of us would be where we are if it weren't for KROQ. Whether your current taste involves the quavers of dubstep, esoteric, experimental circuit bending or rarest of punk rock, the world famous station was the foundation for a lot of us Southern Californians. It was, after all, always there for us when we had to drive our parent's CD-less car!
This last Saturday night, the Verizon Wireless theater housed a sold-out concert showcasing the latest in alternative, radio-friendly music. The Strokes, Rise Against, Linkin Park ... It was time to pay tribute to the classic '00 greats.
It was quickly made apparent that this was an official large-scale music concert as soon as you waited in line to get frisked. A large sign bore the words: "NO MOSHPITTING OR CROWD SURFING." Rats!
Amidst the chart-topping bands on the lineup, there was Bad Religion. They may be in the same wavelength as the other bands now, but they have an amazing past nonetheless. But I went in with a KROQ mindset and a KROQ set is what I got. They opened up with "Los Angeles is Burning" and quickly fell through with the rest of their newer radio hits. Ohh, what I would had done to hear at least one song from their older stuff, at least one song! But alas, no. They chose to play "American Jesus" over "American Dream." Desspite of that, hearing the smooth ebb and flow of a seasoned Greg Graffin backed up by the band's three shredding guitarists was magical nonetheless. Kudos to that guy who somehow got on stage and stage dived for the last song! You are my hero!
An encore perhaps? Hell no! Not if a rotating stage that made bands set times extremely punctual had anything do with it! Time to for a beer run in between sets? Nope, not unless you didn't mind missing the first couple of songs. As if someone had pulled a secret book off a bookcase, the stage miraculously rotated 180 degrees to reveal a completely set-up stage for The Strokes.
And there he came, the original hipster, the lady-killer himself, Julian Casablanca. He was wearing neon green Air Force Ones, a bulky hoodie underneath a leather jacket. Girls from all around the seating area started moving their hips all of sudden, running down the stairs taking pictures of the dude. "You guys are an awesome bunch, these radio shows can be rough sometimes but this is pretty awesome, so cool," as he drank his second drink during the set. The guy is the shit.
Their set was no-frills and simply aimed to please. They played almost all of the songs from their debut, which coincidentally happens to be full of such KROQ favorites as "Reptilia", "Hard to Explain" and "Last Night", a nostalgic favorite. Their screeching-solo centered new single, "Under Cover of Darkness" was an instant hit with the fans, blending in with the rest of their contemporary melodic masterpieces.
And like that, The Strokes set was over and it was time for slightly longer Rise Against set. And with a quick flick of the stage, it was time for a surprise performance by Foo Fighters. And then finally, the dark, surrealistic stage-change for the headlining rap/rock sounds of Lincoln Park. And yes, there was actually many weenies being sold at the event.
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Critic's Bias: I hadn't been to a large-scale concert like this in six years, forgot how annoying it is to have assigned seating during dance-inducing beats.
The Crowd: Couples, both young and old. Random old dudes who managed to get pit passes and several groups of girlfriends hanging out getting drunk.
Random Notebook Dump: There was an awesome guy on a wheelchair pogo'ing from wheel to wheel as Rise Against played their set!