KROQ Weenie Roast 2013 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre May 18, 2013 The lineup for KROQ's Weenie Roast provides a good time capsule of what is currently popular on terrestrial radio, including a number of bands who played Coachella this year and a host of newer, up-and-coming bands who could potentially make the jump to the main stage in the future.
Topping this eclectic assortment of bands were the Black Keys. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been touring tirelessly and are at the point at which their most recent album, El Camino, seems pretty old. But having played KROQ Acoustic Christmas, Coachella and the Honda Center, the Black Keys proved more than capable headliners as they blitzed through such hits as "Tighten Up," "Gold On the Ceiling" and "Howlin' for You." Auerbach still has one of the fuzziest live guitar tones in the business, and the bespectacled, drum-bashing Carney rocked with razor-sharp precision.
While older folks such as me remember Jared Leto as Jordan Catelano from My So-Called Life, Leto is known to most people as the lead singer and guitarist for 30 Seconds to Mars. They are gearing up for the release of their new album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams. Leto worked the KROQ audience the moment he popped up in the middle of the crowd for "The Kill (Bury Me)." Fans ate up every moment, as their show climaxed with blasts of confetti and an all-out stage invasion to end their set.
When it comes to surprises, KROQ outdid themselves this year by rolling out Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington from Linkin Park on vocal duties, leaving Scott Weiland at home listening to his awful Christmas album. Coming out blazing with "Vasoline," it was still puzzling to see Bennington up there. Halfway through their second song, "Big Bang Baby," I was sold. Bennington can easily nail all the notes that Weiland missed last time I saw Stone Temple Pilots at Epicenter in 2012. While the Deleo brothers missed the mark when they formed Army of Anyone with Richard Patrick, the smiles on their faces at this show were well-warranted, as they hit the mark with Bennington.
Another sign the radio landscape has changed was the rousing response Vampire Weekend received. Fresh off their Coachella appearance and the release of their new album, Modern Vampires of the City, Ezra Koenig and company whipped through a 10-song set with the highlights being "A-Punk," "Ya Hey" and "Oxford Comma." They will be back to headline the Hollywood Bowl in September.
The crowd didn't really start to stand up until Of Monsters and Men hit the stage. They definitely have grown leaps and bounds from being a band that was the second opener last year to a main-stage slot above Silversun Pickups and Jimmy Eat World. They seem to have usurped the popularity of Sigur Ros in terms of bands coming from Iceland.
Silversun Pickups enjoyed their fifth time at the Weenie Roast, with Sarah Negadari of the Happy Hollows filling in on bass since Nikki Monninger is taking care of her newborn twins. Other bands that made some leaps onto the main stage include AWOLNATION and Imagine Dragons. While I thought Fitz and the Tantrums should have been up there as well, Atlas Genius took the midday slot and still did remarkably well.
The side stage had a slew of high-energy bands that may soon make the leap to the main stage. Twenty One Pilots provided tons of energy and costume changes. New Politics had way better dance moves than songs. Capital Cities opted for two cover songs in their set, which seemed excessive but had a nice groove. The Neighborhood's crisp, indie pop sound made me yearn for sweater weather in Irvine. Fitz and the Tantrums seem most likely to make the jump to the main stage with their no-holds-barred performance.
Critical Bias: I like any bill that includes the Black Keys.
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The Crowd: Definitely more of a Coachella vibe and not nearly as many bros compared to previous years.
Overheard In the Crowd: People singing along to every word of "Little Talks" from Of Monsters and Men.
Random Notebook Dump: Despite the fact the stream for Neighborhood was in black and white, they played in living color.