Family Values Tour headliner Stone Temple Pilots honed its sights on destroying derivative modern metal through its own aged and roughened grunge. In the middle of a 90-minute set, enigmatic vocalist Scott Weiland referred to the new-metal genre with a venomous comment that seemed arrogant at first. But by the end of STP's uncompromising performance, Weiland had successfully proved his point to those who listened with open ears.
However, a majority of concertgoers -- ranging in age from pre-teens who consider Nirvana classic rock to adults who traded in their dusty grunge LPs five years ago -- ignored Weiland's message. Just two songs in, a person near the front of the stage heckled Weiland, sending the flustered singer into a tirade. Before launching into "Wicked Garden," Weiland stared the man down, yelled back at him and whipped his megaphone to the ground.
For a moment, it seemed Weiland would just walk off the stage with his bruised ego on his sleeve and never return, but the bizarre episode added more fuel to the Pilots hard-hitting renditions of such songs as "Crackerman," "Dead and Bloated" (assisted by a giddy Chester Bennington of Linkin Park) and "Vasoline." The band focused on its heavier material, slowing only during a brief acoustic set. The boiling mood of the crowd settled to a simmer as drummer Eric Kretz brought some screaming fans onstage to sit on couches and sing along to "Creep" and the rarely performed "Still Remains."
While the slender and muscular Weiland pranced around the stage like a preying mantis on speed, Staind vocalist Aaron Lewis wandered like a zombie on horse tranquilizers during an hour-long set. Staind guitarist Mike Mushok was as vibrant and bouncy as ever, but his excitement could not save a disappointing abridged version of Staind's performance in July at the Burt Flickinger Center -- with a few notable exceptions like the stronger songs "Raw" and "Home," and a little something called emotion. Staind instead fell back on its newer material, including "Fade," "Pressure" and "Open Your Eyes." And the hits "Outside" and "It's Been Awhile" sounded hopelessly outdated. At one point during the acoustic "Outside," Lewis asked, "You can't sing louder than that?" And well, they wouldn't.
But the audience did adhere to everything Linkin Park said. The newcomers were greeted with more enthusiasm than any other band of the night as they blew through most of their debut "Hybrid Theory" and even performed an older hip-hop tinged song "Step Up." MC Mike Shinoda got everyone , doing call and response choruses, and waving their hands in the air.
Static-X performed second, blending purified speed-metal with a cyber-punk vibe and balancing old songs like "Pushit" and "Bled for Days" with tracks from its new album "Machine," such as "Black and White" and "Permanence." Doom-metal band Deadsy previewed tracks from its upcoming, long-delayed album "Commencement." The eerie songs, including "Winners" and a cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" sounded fit for a horror movie soundtrack, with eerie keyboard effects and Metallica-sized riffs. But monotonous vocals and a lack of originality only added to the validity of Weiland's brash statements.