Monday, July 7, 2008

Lazerfest 2.0

Okay, so I had some other ideas for a new post but those will simply have to sit tight for now because I saw one hell of a show on Saturday. A local radio station in Des Moines, Lazer 103.3, puts on a summer music fest every year. A couple of months ago, I avoided it because I couldn't imagine anything that boasts Kid Rock as the headliner to be a good thing. To everyone's surprise though, the same station decided to put up for another round of acts with Lazerfest 2.0 and the headliners were the Stone Temple Pilots! Hellz yeah!

I got there around 4:30 and met up with some friends who had already worked their way to the front of the pit area for a band called Five Finger Death Punch who were all about "our metal is heavier than that other pussy metal band." That's damned near a direct quote, folks, I kid you not. If death pseudo-metal is your thing, then I suppose they were alright, although, to me the lead singer resembled a pissed off leprechaun with a bleach-blonde Mohawk. I would have recorded some footage, but I found myself in a sea of angry mosher boys and topless chickies. Oh dear! Not exactly video-friendly.

Up next was Filter, who looked and sounded great. They stuck with a few of their hits, including "Welcome to the Fold," Take A Picture," and "Hey Man, Nice Shot," all of which I sang along with or, when I was recording, just mouthed the words. They also played their new single, "Soldiers of Misfortune," a nice tune, but a bit on the nose with the anti-war slant. I don't know that I would have chosen the same black on black, long-sleeve ensemble as Richard Patrick, seeing as how it was hovering around 100 degrees outside that day without a twig of shade in sight but, hey, that's just me.

Hinder was next in the lineup, and if you'd asked me to name one of their tunes before the show, I couldn't have answered you. This generally registers a look of disbelief from co-workers and friends when it's come up. After seeing their set, there are a few songs I've heard in passing on the radio and I suppose you could say that "Get Stoned" is a guilty pleasure, although I thought it was by Buck Cherry. I may get flamed by some passersby, but, honestly, these guys are forgettable. Their look and their sound may be fun for the moment, but it's not distinct enough to really stand out in the long run. Of course I invite them to prove me wrong, but I feel I have a pretty safe bet here. I'm a little concerned that if the singer carries on with the screaming/singing as he does that he'll blow his voice in a few years time. If nothing else can be learned from Axl Rose, it's that you need to conserve your pipes, man.

We sought out some shade behind a refreshment booth while Drowning Pool played the other stage and watched the roadies set up for Staind. Staind is another one of those bands like Filter that take me back to that summer just after my senior year of high school when "Outside" was hitting it big on the Family Values tour. I was glad to hear them play it, but something was definitely off. Aaron missed a few lines here and there, and the crowd drew a disappointing blank when he asked them to sing along. Afterward, Aaron said that he wasn't feeling well, which had become obvious. He stuck with it through the rest of their setlist, which included their new single, "Believe," "Right Here," and "Price to Play." I've not seen them live before so I don't know if they were lacking their normal intensity level, but under the circumstances I think they did pretty well.

Now onto the main attraction: Stone Temple Pilots. By this point I was dying to see their set and OMFG! They were so worth the wait! This was my first STP show, and I was a little nervous because, I mean, who hasn't heard the stories of the cancellations or other inflated ego disasters Scott Weiland has contributed to? But the whole lot of them were on top of their game. If there was note missed or a vocal out of tune, I didn't notice because they had such great energy all throughout. When they first took the stage I was a little confused with Scott's outfit. He looked like a deranged pilgrim with that hat, but he was in fine spirits. There was even a point where he seemed humble to the crowd.
"Rock and roll lives right here. It's not about the West Coast or the East Coast or the South or all those places where everyone is trying to prove they're hipper than you. No. Rock and roll is alive and thriving in the Midwest. You guys are what keeps it going."
Okay, so he may have been pandering to us, but I'm willing to accept that. This little speech was even after getting showered with a beer someone in the front threw onstage. Scott just laughed it off and told us how hops are actually really good for your hair, and I'm inclined to believe him. Scott Weiland wouldn't lie about haircare. I don't even know what that means, but "Scott Weiland wouldn't lie about _____" became the running joke of the evening.

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the stage yet, which was absolutely fantastic! There was a HUGE LED screen that stretched the entire length of the stage, and the resolution on that thing was incredible. Check out this video of "Wicked Garden."

Even that doesn't really do this screen justice. Everything was so crisp and vibrant.

I staked out a place to sit on the rail in front of the soundbooth and was able to video most of the show which I will probably be watching over and over for a while. I am so glad I upgraded my memory card to an 8GB. They broke out most of their big hits, but with a catalog like theirs, there was no way they'd hit them all. "Big Empty," "Vasoline," "Crackerman,"Sour Girl," "Creep," "Plush," "Interstate Love Song," "Sex Type Thing," "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart." All of them were fantastic. They finally wrapped things up around midnight with an encore performance of "Dead & Bloated."

I hope they're able to maintain whatever balance they found in sobriety or moderation. As long as they have that, I would so So SO recommend you catch them this summer if they haven't already passed you by.

I think I just about linked up to every video, but you can always check them out on our YouTube account. I'm not overly satisfied with the quality there right now, so I may be seeking another site that hosts videos. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. You can also see the stills from the festival on our Photobucket.


D:ANGEL said...

Great review.


Five Finger Death Punch is NOT, repeat, NOT Death Metal. They are Metalcore/Heavy Radio Rock i.e. music that REAL METAL FANS do not like.

If it is Death Metal you want, listen to something like DECAPITATED's WINDS OF CREATION (clips are on itunes). THAT, my friends, is Death Metal.

Otherwise great review.

Iris said...

I should have known that you would have heard of them. I had no idea who they were and couldn't figure out why ALL the bands, save STP, kept giving them shout outs. I thought they were some local band who just got a lucky time slot.

The death metal slight has been corrected in the post.

I'm going to take it as a sign that since my iTunes won't open that I'm not meant to hear Decapitated.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Iris, you have amazing recall of shows. I never remember shows in such detail--too caught up in the moment, I guess. And I never drink at shows, so that's got nothing to do with it.

Also, I have not heard of any of these bands, except STP. And I've only heard one or two of their songs.

I believe I mentioned that I'm going to the ATP festival this fall, and I doubt I'll remember half as much detail as this...but I can tell you, in advance, that I won't forget Thurston Moore's performance of Psychic Hearts, that Bob Mould and My Bloody Valentine are probably going to kick my ass, and that whatever Dinosaur, Jr does will be burned into my memory...


DA - a wise man once sang, "Tonight's The Night."

Iris said...

It's a gift and a curse. I get to remember details like that from concerts but then commercial jingles also get stuck in my head way too easy.

Anonymous said...

I am the same way with commercial jingles.

And I remember when I saw Dino Jr at a small venue in their hometown yeeeeeaaaaaars ago, and at the end, J Mascis came back on stage to turn off his amps, and everyone got excited, thinking he was going to do an encore, and he just said, "Show's over, kids."

He's so charming in a no-social-skills-not-really-that-charming way. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

So, I remember that.

And how quickly Gaffney fixed the problem with his pedal, mid-song. In my mind, he's the lo-fi version of Kramer, but he was all pro in that moment, no hipster doofus.

So that's two things--one from a show like 15 years ago, another from a show about a month ago. Not nearly enough to flesh out a detailed post...

Iris said...

Oh and here's something I forgot to mention in the review. It's really nice to see that Scott Weiland has put on some weight. It's always bothered me when he's so super skinny how much he resembles a preying mantis or some other insect-like creature. Compared to the "real world boys" he's still a really skinny guy but it doesn't look as unhealthy as it used to.

maise said...

Excellent review, Iris! I'm kind of sad that I missed STP when they came to town now. I've heard sooooooo many stories about Scott Weiland showing up hours late, being in no shape to perform, etc. that I didn't want to spend money on what could likely be a disappointment. Because at the end of the day, I'm not THAT big of a fan of theirs, but I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE "Big Bang Baby."

Iris said...

I love that song too and they played that one at the show! I don't remember where it was in the setlist but I was definitely singing and dancing to it.

Any hey to anyone reading, I've got another project I'm working on that may require a little "audience participation". I'll be kicking ass on it tonight so hopefully I'll have it up by tomorrow morning. :D

Anonymous said...

I am all about audience participation.

Toni said...

WOW! I was trying to remember who was all there and Googled it and came across your page. I can remember it almost exactly by your blog! Except I wish I wasn't as drunk by the time STP came on!