Thousands of rock fans descended upon the StubHub Center in Carson on May 12 as KROQ hosted its annual Weenie Roast concert, with noteworthy performances from bands like Blink-182, Panic! At the Disco, Rise Against, Manchester Orchestra and Mike Shinoda. Just as the day’s weather couldn’t seem to decide between hot and cold, some aspects of the day left us fired up while others left us yearning for more.
Mike Shinoda paying respect to Chester Bennington
After the sudden death of Chester Bennington, Linkin Park fans were left with a void and ponderings about how or if the rap-rock group would continue. Nearly a year after the singer’s passing, co-vocalist Mike Shinoda premiered his act of solo rapping — following his first solo, early 2000s stint as Fort Minor years ago — at the Weenie Roast on Saturday. Toward the end of his set, Shinoda performed LP’s first single “In the End” on piano as he rapped his verses and asked the crowd to lend their voices to Bennington’s parts. The song was clearly emotional, yet therapeutic, for many attendees and was easily one of the most memorable moments of the day.
We don’t deserve Brendan Urie
The Panic! At the Disco performer has come a long way since I first saw him perform back in 2005. Showing off a range of high falsettos to low notes in numbers like “Death of a Bachelor,” Urie presented a stage presence that is unmatched by most frontmen in today’s scene. My friend, who’s a huuuuuuuge fan of Blink-182, declared Panic! should have headlined the night because it’s pretty tough to follow an act with that strong of a singer, pyrotechnics and a (seriously outstanding) cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Finally, a venue that knows how to handle parking for large crowds
My previous jaunts to Weenie Roast always included the dreaded thought game of leaving the last few songs of the headliner to try to beat traffic or staying for the whole set and spending a minimum extra hour in the (now defunct) Verizon Amphitheater parking lot. Given that this was my first time (and Weenie Roast’s sophomore year) at the StubHub Center, I once against wrestled with myself, but leaving during or before Blink-182 played “Dammit” felt like a big pop-punk sin, so I took my chances. To my surprise, traffic flowed smoothly out of the parking lot with police controlling pathways. Especially considering the clusterfuck of traffic I experienced after leaving the last Blink-182 show I attended, at Musink two months ago, I could have practically screamed of happiness rather than of frustration.
Blink-182’s unoriginal set
Let me preface this by saying the actual selection of 16 songs could easily please any amateur and die-hard Blink fan. I mean, who could complain when a set includes songs like “Anthem Part Two,” “First Date” and “All the Small Things”? Well, maybe those of us who saw Blink perform 99 percent of the same setlist at Musink two months ago. Despite the welcome addition of a cover of Goldfinger’s cover of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” the set was essentially the same, minus a few songs taken off for time’s sake. For weeks ahead of the gig, KROQ had asked fans to compile their dream Blink-182 setlist for the chance to win tickets. I’d seen lists with requests for songs like “San Diego” and “Dysentery Gary,” which made me excited for the possibilities at Weenie Roast. And while I did happily bop my head and sing along to the songs in the set, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a little lazy on Blink’s part to perform essentially the same setlist to an audience who had a local show recently.
Between sets, DJ Jeremiah Red played hits from bands like Weezer, Rage Against the Machine, Third Eye Blind and My Chemical Romance. This was all great until he turned the popular songs into dub-step versions of themselves, which just really wasn’t my cup of tea. During a remix of Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy,” I spotted a little girl who was covering her ears during the dub-step parts. Me too, little girl. Me too.
A ‘Full House’ of awkward stalling
Prior to Blink-182’s headlining set, KROQ “Kevin and Bean” host Kevin Ryder and Bob Saget of “Full House” went out to introduce the band, but it became quickly apparent that all wasn’t going alright backstage and it would be a few minutes before the pop-punk trio came out. The situation was clearly awkward for everyone involved, including Ryder and Saget, who seemed to struggle with comedy bits and talking points for the four minutes or so that they were up there. The hosts and audience should have just joined in on a collective sing-along to Blink-182, if you ask me: “Everywhere you look (everywhere you go) / There’s a face / Of somebody who needs you…”