"Does anybody know how the story really goes, or should we all just hum along?" Scott Weiland famously barks in the 1996 hit "Big Bang Baby."
When it comes to the plight of Weiland and his Stone Temple Pilots over the past two decades-plus, most in attendance at the band's Aug. 25 MGM Grand show didn't seem to need a history lesson.
The audience was littered with concert tees not only from the band's storied past, but from offshoots and solo projects including Weiland's Velvet Revolver and the Deleo brothers' (STP's bassist Robert Deleo and six-stringer Dean) Talk Show and Army of Anyone.
And the dirty little secret that all of us have figured out through all of this is that, just as the band's breakout single "Plush" claims—"so much depends on the weather"—when it comes to the STP live experience, just as much depends on "the Weiland," as the battery of the brothers Deleo and drummer Eric Kretz reliably churn out the band's patented brand of melodic metal with the precision of a Swiss timepiece.
When the oft-maligned frontman is "off," as he was as recently as 2010, his forgetting lyrics and otherwise uninspired performance can certainly bog the Pilots down.
He's a cagey veteran, of course, so he's able to mask some of the nonchalance and occasional vocal shortcomings with standard rock parlor tricks like removing a piece of apparel song by song until he's down to his trimmed chest, relying on stage banter and the like.
When he's on, as he was this evening, he barely undid a button on his Armani suit as he belted through chestnuts like "Big Empty," "Interstate Love Song" and "Crackerman." Rather, he let his vocals do the talking—and considering that he dutifully hit every note from the studio versions of each song and frequently opted to take some lines higher, he had a lot to say this evening.
While it's certainly understandable that the band would want to mix things up after all the years of playing, some of the hardcore questioned the noticeable omissions of Core (their first album) staples "Wicked Garden" and "Dead and Bloated."
In contrast, what once passed as a minor hit from the STP catalogue/setlist—"Trippin' On A Whole In A Paper Heart"—has become an anthemic show closer, with a confident Weiland leading the packed, fist-pumping house through the "I'm not dead and I'm not for sale" lyric.
Meanwhile, on the local front, indie music notable John St. Onge checked in to report that, after a year of pre-production and another of recording and revising, he and his Swillmerchants are ready to serve up their newly concocted sonic stew to the masses.
"We call the album I Don't Remember The World, and it's a dynamic journey through thoughts, feelings, wins, losses, experiences and evolutions we've experienced together," he revealed.
For a taste of what that whirlwind of emotions might sound like firsthand, stop by the band's official CD release party at The Elevens this Saturday, Sept. 8. Actually, it's more like a complete meal, as the band promises to perform the new album in its 43-minute entirety.
Last but not least, yet another official CD release—this time from indie-world-punk faves Firewater. Though the band originally formed in New York City, Fire-starter Tod A says that he turned to—and lived in—Istanbul, Turkey to make International Orange!, the followup to 2007's acclaimed The Golden Hour.
"The city is fascinating... a real melting pot," he explains. "And with the revolutions going on all around, I knew we should record there."
The disc is slated to drop Sept. 11, and Noho's own Iron Horse has been tapped for the second date on the U.S. tour that immediately follows. Tix are $15 for this 8:30 p.m. show and can be purchased via iheg.com.
Fledgling sextet Grownups! (featuring remnants of Bella's Bartok) gets the opening nod for this one.
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