Why would thousands of people pay four dollars for bottled water, seven dollars for a slice of pizza and stand in 90-degree heat for six hours swatting away bugs? For this year’s KROQ Weenie Roast’s mind-blowing 14-band lineup at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre. Duh.
Ludo kicked off the 11-hour show on Saturday on the Bud Light side stage, and “Love Me Dead” received a lot of applause in particular. Half an hour later, Flobots took the stage and got the crowd cheering with its unique, jazz/hip-hop attitude. Watching someone drop beats while supported by the violin is a very refreshing musical experience. Brer Rabbit executed some fine robot dancing to “Handlebars”. MGMT and The Bravery also made an appearance.
The show shifted to the colossal main stage, where Atreyu played a rousing half-hour set and was inexplicably accompanied by a guitarist in a Julius the Monkey costume, weird but amusing.
After they were done, the platform of the stage they stood on actually rotated 180 degrees to reveal Flogging Molly on the other side, who kick-started the audience with fast, upbeat songs like “(No More) Paddy’s Lament,” “Seven Deadly Sins,” “What’s Left of the Flag” and a couple songs from its new album “Float.”
As soon as the crowd heard Robert Schmidt’s high-speed banjo strumming that signaled the intro to “Drunken Lullabies,” spontaneous mosh pits broke out up on the lawn. When the stage rotated again, the anger-banging Seether was on the other side, who was then followed by Scars on Broadway. Scars’s spacey and doom-sorrow tone put a stop to the mosh pits that had been going, but still delivered pretty well.
Pennywise was greeted by gleeful chanting and a massive cheer from the audience. People crowded around the rail for the first time. The theme of the set was, as Jim Lindberg explained, “People tell you to get a nicer car … get a nicer home … the day you tell those people to fuck off is the day you start living.”
The band then went into “Fuck Authority,” with fans shouting along and shoving their middle fingers into the air. Crowd members got a heart-warming surprise when Pennywise began a rendition of the Ramones’s “Blitzkreig Bop” and Flogging Molly’s guitarist Dennis Casey skipped out onto the stage to sing with Lindberg.
Bad Religion was next, and played “Sorrow,” “Infected” and “Los Angeles is Burning.” If you could ignore the fact that he was singing at a concert, watching Bad Religion’s balding and middle-aged Greg Graffin perform in a polo t-shirt was like watching him give a Power Point presentation, because of all the mild hand gestures he made. Nonetheless, the band delivered an enjoyable set.
The stage rotated once more and Rise Against was on the other side, Tim McIlrath swinging the microphone around him like a lasso. They delivered one of the most energetic performances of the day, but McIlrath went into scream-o mode for many of its songs, which detracted from the performance. Still, “Prayer of the Refugees” and “Ready to Fall” were enjoyable.
The Raconteurs were up next and played for a good 45 minutes. “Salute Your Salution” was saved as a “last-but-not-least” treat for the audience.
The next two bands to follow were quite clearly the primary reason for almost everyone’s presence at Weenie Roast. First, The Offspring rotated onto the stage and immediately opened with “Come Out and Play” to a rowdy and screaming audience. They busted out classics like “Pretty Fly for a White Guy,” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Staring at the Sun”, and “Bad Habit.” They also played two songs from its upcoming new album, “Hammerhead” and a new song that really got the audience tapping their feet and clapping their hands. The hour-long set was nothing short of amazing but came to an anti-climactic end when Dexter and the band simply walked offstage.
Throughout the entire day, the DJs, announcers, and even the performing bands expressed their excitement and disbelief about the lineup’s last band. After The Offspring walked off, KROQ’s own Kat came onstage and told the audience, “Are you ready for what’s about to fucking happen? … Metallica, ladies and gentleman!” And Metallica themselves walked onto the stage to a venue full of rabid, shouting fans and raised devil’s horns. Two-hours of heavy metal thrashing and rocking were to follow, complimented with James Hetfield’s goofy yet theatric personality. At one point, fans on the upper lawn began lighting impressive-sized bonfires from the trash on the ground.
You could read 20 articles on this year’s Weenie Roast and still not get a tenth of the experience it actually was. The lineup was nothing short of amazing, and the experience of 11 full hours of rocking, screaming lyrics until you went hoarse, and having your ears ring for the next two days is something that is simply impossible to encapsulate in any form of media. If you missed it, shame on you. Don’t miss the next one.
And yes, there were weenies.