For starters, We won’t get into the heat – it’s nothing less than you’d expect from an outdoors concert in Southern California and the lineup certainly made up for it. We missed out on openers Open Air Stereos who, according to the official show guide, paid their way onto the side stage and the Dead 60s too. We were there just in time to catch part of the Bravery’s set before turning to see Alkaline Trio play it safe with a number of radio-friendly songs, including “Poison” and “Mercy Me” off their latest album. Their latest single, “Time to Waste”, got a good response from the crowd even though the sound quality left a lot to be desired.
The Transplants followed and most of the crowd rushed to the stage to catch a glimpse of Travis Barker and co. Bloc Party got them dancing along to their KROQ hit “Banquet” (do we see a trend here?) shortly after an awkward on-air interview where Kevin & Bean asked them about the heat and shirtless girls. They played a mix of edgier (“She’s Hearing Voices”) and quieter songs (“Little Thoughts”) before passing it on to the Mars Volta who told concert-goers they would be improvising a lot and asked anyone who didn’t like it to leave. We did stick around for the full set of intense, swirling guitars and all-around amazing musicianship that closed the side stage shows, making our way up to the amphitheatre as MXPX bopped along to one of their classics (if there even is such a thing), “Punk Rawk Show”.
If there’s one thing that could make us say “I love KROQ” it’s their scheduling. You can actually see all the bands on the bill without having to pick between, say... the Mars Volta and Interpol and there’s practically no downtime between sets when you have two side stages and a revolving main stage. We were lucky enough to sneak into the orchestra section and settle in some great seats for the rest of the day.
Hot Hot Heat had plenty of girls dancing along to “Middle of Nowhere” and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way (sweating in his bulletproof vest) tried (and failed) to get everyone riled up with his antics and swearing although he did get them singing along to “I’m Not Okay” and “Helena”. Jimmy Eat World stuck with, you guessed it, radio songs. “Pain”, “The Middle” and “Sweetness” were all crowd favorites and frontman Jim Adkins was entertaining in his mocking southern California accent and observation that things just weren’t the same as they were in 1999.
Interpol was up next and although they played diligently through a set that included “Evil”, “Slow Hands” and “PDA”, their set was in the middle of the afternoon and their music has a somber quality that works a lot better at night. Queens of the Stone Age followed with their aggressive blend of rock. Josh Homme came on pretty strong and commanded everyone’s attention with “Go with the Flow” and “Little Sister”. The Killer’s more upbeat, danceable music got people on their feet again with songs like “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside”, a product of familiarity because live performances are just not the band’s strong point. The jeweled-out keyboard was more interesting to watch than Brandon Flowers (hell, even the Bravery’s Morrissey look-a-like was more interesting).
Audioslave made it onstage just around nightfall and singer Chris Cornell seemed bored and indifferent until they started covering Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine songs. “Killing in the Name” got nearly everyone out of their seats, shouting and pounding their fists to the song and the lighters came out for Cornell’s acoustic rendition of “Black Hole Sun”.
The Foo Fighters headlined with a lot more energy from the start. They pounded out song after song with little pause and Dave Grohl had everyone’s attention as he ran up into the crowd. The band played a tight set that included “Monkey Wrench”, “My Hero”, “Learn to Fly”, “One by One”, their latest “Best of You” and “Everlong”, their most popular. If they all look like singles to you, well, that’s because they are. Grohl announced they would be touring soon and playing a “real show” then. Grohl also said he was excited to be opening up for Motley Crue but that same excitement wasn’t shared by all the Killer’s fans that showed up. Lots of people started booing and leaving the venue when Motley Crue was called onstage. We left at the end of the Foo Fighter’s set so we missed out on the bikes and girls the Crue brought on.
Source: Naitze Teng