Incubus, 311, DREAMCAR and More Rock KROQ’s Annual Weenie Roast y Fiesta

KROQ Weenie Roast y Fiesta
StubHub Center

In honor of the 25th annual Weenie Roast y Fiesta, KROQ brought the party over to StubHub Center in Carson, a new destination after nearly 24 years of rocking out at the now defunct Irvine Meadows Ampitheater. The charitable, annual summer kickoff which once featured iconic names like Metallica, Orgy, Soundgarden and The Cure has since shifted from its traditional rock-based, multi-artist lineup to a more mainstream guestlist. The day’s festivities began on the second stage with performances from up-and-comers The Revivalists, New Politics and Judah & The Lion. Devoted fans and those looking to make the most of their ticket fees made it out early to support the openers, braving the heat and singing along to songs made familiar to them by SoCal’s leader in all things rock music.

Just ahead of Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, the main stage encountered technical difficulties that would end up foreshadowing the rest of the evening’s performances. McMahon, however, was able to power through his rousing set unscathed. Serving as hype man for the second half of the concert, the punk rock pianist livened the crowd with both new and recognizable tunes such as “Fire Escape,” “Dark Blue” and “Cecilia and the Satellite,” climbing on top of his piano and even dancing about. Feeding off the energy of the spectators, McMahon took it to another level by hopping into an inflatable raft, propelled by the sea of concertgoers.

Following McMahon on the rotating stage was DREAMCAR, the fusion of No Doubt instrumentalists Tony Kanal, Adrian Young and Tom Dumont, and AFI frontman Davey Havok. Ready to continue the lively theme previously set before them, the rock quartet and their soulful backup singers brought the drama to the stage without a hitch — that is, until Havok’s mic cut out towards the end of their first song, “After I Confessed.” The experienced frontman kept his cool and continued on, riding out the snafu with admirable professionalism. His vocals kicked back in immediately after the tune ended, and Havok was able to greet the crowd and finish the 35-minute set with singles like “Kill for Candy” and “All of the Dead Girls.” Those with a decent view were fortunate enough to enjoy the magic that was Havok seductively removing a few constricting layers of his swanky suit.

It’s no secret that Lana Del Rey has some seriously diehard fans, but at the Weenie Roast, that appeared to be a serious understatement. Young admirers pushed their way to the front of the barrier, armed with gifts and bouquets of roses which she sweetly did her best to collect between verses. The typically straight-faced, songstress couldn’t contain her smiles as she gazed out on freely flowing tears and signs that read “I love you, Lana.” For her biggest devotees, Del Rey gave haunting renditions of her already melancholy hits “Summertime Sadness” and “Video Games.” Feeling especially benevolent, Del Rey blessed the audience with the debut of her new single “Cherry” off of her upcoming album Lust For Life.

Thank goodness for Paramore, who took the stage and forced the crowd to dry their tears and shake off the gloom pop before them. Despite her petite stature, frontwoman Hayley Williams dwarfed the massive stage, busting out every dance move known to man with finesse that could only be rivaled by Usher. The effortlessly animated punk rock princess got people moving with “Hard Times,” the feel-good, lead single off of the newly reformed band’s recently released album After Laughter. But Williams knew her showgoers, and knew that they were yearning to hear “That’s What You Get,” Grammy-winning track “Ain’t It Fun” and of course, “Misery Business.” Lead by a brief message on gratitude and surviving internal strife, the band ended their set with a second performance of “Hard Times,” you know, “because we feel like it.”

Not to be shown up by their juniors, industry veterans 311 proved that they could jam out with the best of them — gray hair be damned. Digging deep into the archives, Nick Hexum and the gang delivered “Beautiful Disaster” and “All Mixed Up” before the clothes started coming off. By the end of their final song, “Creatures (For a While),” Hexum was shirtless and showing off his buff, nearly 50-year-old bod. No complaints were heard.

Cage the Elephant takes their performances very seriously. When Matt Schultz takes the stage it’s apparents that he and the band have been influenced by The Rolling Stones and some of the greatest legends in rock history. But the guys never bite the styles they fell in love with, instead adding their own vigour and flair to their craft. “In One Ear” and “Ain’t No Rest For the Wicked” kept fans awake after the sun went down. Schultz ended the set with “Teeth,” climbed on top of the barrier and swan-dived into the awaiting arms of adoring fans.

Forever grateful for the support that KROQ has shown to them since Day 1, Imagine Dragons tore up the stage with intensity made more epic with a lasers and drum ensembles. Opening with a high-impact version of “Radioactive,” the enthusiasm didn’t subside as Dan Reynolds continued on to “Gold” and “Believer,” leaving much of the vocal work up to fans who belted out every word from memory as though they were reciting the alphabet.

After taking a year off to produce their 2017 album, 8, Incubus’ Brandon Boyd, Jose Pasillas, Chris Kilmore, Ben Kenney and Mike Einziger reunited for what was arguably the most anticipated performance of the evening. Fans were spoiled with nostalgic treats “Megalomaniac,” “Pardon Me” and “Drive.” Their enduring cohesiveness and Boyd’s unwavering talent continued into their new material before seemingly ending their time on stage with “Wish You Were Here.” Just when fans thought he was preparing to bid them farewell, Boyd instead spoke briefly on the loss of his friend and fellow musician, Chris Cornell. At the end of his kind eulogy, he brought out Cage The Elephant’s Matt Schultz for a fitting duet of “Black Hole Sun” in honor of Cornell.

Lorde had some rather large shoes to fill as she breezed out onto the stage to end 2017’s Weenie Roast. Fresh off of her top spot on Coachella’s bill and preparing to headline large festivals like Outside Lands and Lollapalooza, the pop artist opened her headlining set with “Green Light” off of her upcoming album, Melodrama. Unfortunately, those technical difficulties from earlier in the day returned after a couple of songs, forcing her to exercise her best small talk, eventually forcing her to take a seat on the edge of the stage while she apologized profusely. Once things were running smoothly, she continued on with “Buzzcut Season” and “Homemade Dynamite” before the problems persisted. Occurring every song or two, she was able to croon the always popular “Royals” and “Team” before offering up one last track and bidding adieu to those loyal patrons who remained until the end.

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