94.5 The Buzz Weenie Roast feat. Papa Roach, Buckcherry, Puddle of Mudd, P.O.D., Crossfade, RED & Drive A Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion August 28, 2011
A weenie roast, indeed.
At its hottest, Sunday afternoon reached temperatures of 105 with a heat index of, oh... 3,000 or so. Texas born and bred, though we may be, it was not the best climated day for a mini music festival (especially on pavement).
Nonetheless, by the time we arrived, just as Drive A were finishing their performance, the venue was all but packed. The lawn was covered with people, and most of the seats were already occupied as well.
But heat be damned, Houstonians were going to have a good time.
Crossfade, whom we didn't know were still around, put on a solid performance in their own right but were put to shame by the other acts on the lineup. They saved "So Cold," arguably their best-known song, for last, but even the entirety of the crowd singing along wasn't enough to keep stride with the other bands.
RED came next, treating concert goers to an energetic, altogether heavy set that didn't let up. Just watching frontman Michael Barnes hop around was exhausting, and he never slowed down. They didn't bring out an acoustic guitar or perform any softer songs in the middle of their set. Instead, RED went full force for every second they were allotted.
P.O.D. surprised us from the moment its members strutted onto the stage. Similar to Crossfade, we haven't heard much of (or from) these '90s-era rockers since their heyday, so Aftermath supposes that we shouldn't have been surprised that their style hasn't changed much. Sonny Sandoval may have cut off his dreadlocks, but otherwise the entire group looked exactly like we remember them.
Sporting knee-high socks, checkered Vans and Dickies shorts, the Christian fivesome shared the stage for half an hour singing of life and love in their semi-rock, semi-reggae fashion (that we kind of miss, to be honest), closing their set with a cover of Sublime's "What I Got."
Puddle of Mudd marked our first guilty pleasure of the evening. We were never fans, really, but we've heard enough of their songs on the radio that we consider ourselves familiar with their repertoire. Despite our predisposition, we found ourselves mouthing along to lyrics and moving our bodies to the beat.
Maybe it was the bassist's swagger - he strolled onstage shirtless, with a cigarette pursed between his lips - or maybe it was how much fun all the members seemed to be having; for whatever reason, we enjoyed the hell out of their performance. Our only gripe, which was shared by many, many others, was that they didn't play "She F*cking Hates Me," an iconic, simple ditty about... well, you can probably figure it out.
For Buckcherry's performance, a curtain was raised and dropped to the delight of fans, as the Los Angeles-based alt-rockers gave the heaviest and most theatric performance thus far. Their live performance, for those of you who don't already know, trumps their recordings by a long shot. And having seen them live, we now feel that we have a much better grasp on their music and why, exactly, so many people listen to it.
Truthfully (and simply), it's pretty damn rockin' and has an overall good-vibes feel to it... Even as vocalist Josh Todd coaxed the crowd into chanting, "Co-caine! Co-caine! Co-caine," we couldn't help but smile.
Speaking of Todd, we kind of wish we looked like him. We'd keep our face - no disrespect, but if we didn't, our moms would kill us - but it would be nice if, when we took our shirts off, women cheered. C'est la vie, we suppose.
Closing out the evening was Papa Roach, whose performance was one of the most high-energy and fun to watch that we've ever been a part of. During their second song, front man Jacoby Shaddix jumped the barricade and, to the dismay of the Pavillion's staff no doubt, ran around the crowd, giving high-fives, standing on chairs and putting smiles on everyone's faces - his own included.
Then, a few songs later, he asked the crowd, specifically those in the seated area, to sit down and jump on the count of three. It may sound corny, but it was actually much more enjoyable than we thought it would be. We are, after all, cynics. Who hate music. Especially this mainstream stuff. Blah-dee, blah, blah.
Seriously though, it was a strong performance, and Papa Roach's appreciation for their fans, overall fun-loving feel and high-energy presentation all supplied us with more than enough reasons to give the ever-elusive cockroach a big thumbs-up.
As if that weren't enough, Shaddix is also a family man. We'll leave you with a quote from the man of the hour:
"I wish my dick could stretch to California so my wife could suck it!"
Personal Bias: Viva la Cooka Roach-ahhhhh!! (Skip to the end to hear it).
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Overheard In the Crowd: "I envy the self-image a lot of these people have."
Random Notebook Dump: Watching people grab each other's asses is awkward when you don't have one to grab yourself. Too bad our plus-one had to duck out early.