Buzzfest XXXI at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 11/02/2013
Three songs into Stone Temple Pilots' headlining performance at Buzzfest XXXI Saturday night, guitarist Dean DeLeo began to play the signature riff behind 1994's "Vasoline," as cheers resonated throughout the amphitheater.
Chester Bennington was about to face his first true test as the group's new lead singer.
"Flies in the Vasoline we are/ Sometimes it blows my mind/ Keep getting stuck here all the time," he sang in what sounded like his best impression of a '90s-era vocalist. But then came his signature growl, which translated into an energetic reinterpretation of a grunge classic.
When the song was over, the crowd roared their applause, and Bennington's face spread into a wide grin. Marijuana smoke wafted through the pavilion air overheard, and he took a deep breath. "It smells pretty good up here... Thanks, guys."
Building on the enthusiasm sparked during "Vasoline," STP continued into "Dead & Bloated," following with "Meatplow," "Silver Gun Superman," and "Big Empty" among others. They also peppered their set with a few new, as yet unrecorded songs. Much of the crowd shouted their approval and sang along, while others lost interest and walked out halfway through.
To be fair though, they may have just been tired from having been on-site for nearly 12 hours.
Bennington's trademark scream, which he's fine-tuned over the years as Linkin Park's lead vocalist, was present and accounted for; but his singing voice, which called for throatier vocals and more bass, fell flat about half of the time. The crowd seemed torn in their reception, but more people stuck around than than left. The jury as a whole, however, is still out.
Replacing Scott Weiland rather than disbanding will surely rub some longtime fans the wrong way. But bringing in young blood will also garner renewed interest. And let's not forget about the number of Linkin Park fans who otherwise would have never listened to STP... Their artistic merit may be in question, but they sure are going to sell a lot of albums.
And last we saw, Weiland seems to be having trouble getting his footing.
Review continues on the next page.