|concert reviews||basement tapes||cd reviews||interviews||features|
Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisThe idea of an established band parting ways with its original singer and resuming with a new front man is nothing new, though it often times reduces the act to becoming a mere shadow of itself. However, Stone Temple Pilots are one of the very few who've not only survived a line-up change situation but thrived by uniting with an already famous fella capable of giving the group's alternative era gems a fresh interpretation.
For those who haven't been keeping score, guitarist Dean DeLeo, bassist Robert DeLeo and drummer Eric Kretz remain from the previous line-up, while the now solo Scott Weiland's been swapped for Chester Bennington (the Linkin Park leader who maintains dual membership). Though Weiland's deep throated growls and mastery of showmanship are absolutely irreplaceable, the higher pitched and similarly charismatic Bennington is clearly a lifelong fan who rather than merely mimicking his muse put a personal spin on over 20 tunes during a sold out stop at Chicago's House of Blues.
Though the group's thus far recorded an EP together, almost all of the night was spent rediscovering yesteryear with the band's scalding rhythm section looking like they were more than pleased with the new face. And considering all the guys normally command arenas and amphitheatres, getting to experience their often times grungy, sometimes bluesy and always aggressive treatment of tunes like "Vasoline," "Wicked Garden," "Big Bang Baby" and "Heaven & Hot Rods" in a club setting was a true treat (even if those by the back bar wasted much of the opportunity on conversations best left kept).
The retooled STP also dug well beyond the most obvious hits (much to the delight of the dedicated and the indifference of aforementioned), spending considerable time on deep cuts, mainly from classic collections "Core" and "Purple," but also 1996's acoustic "Adhesive" for the first time ever on a tour. When it came time for the familiar, the back to back attack of "Big Empty," "Plush," "Interstate Love Song" and "Down" brought the '90s full circle and made a convincing case that this San Diego-bred band is just as important as any act that ever came out of Seattle.
Granted, nothing will ever compare to seeing STP during its initial ascent, but this second wind is still a valid partnership that has the potential to yield similar results for an entirely new generation. And for those who weren't lucky enough to catch this rare underplay, chances are the band will be back to the big leagues sooner than later, injecting a jolt of unbridled rock into a marketplace that's in desperate need of some life support.
Return to Reviews
Return to Menu