Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts Warehouse Live April 29, 2015
When Stone Temple Pilots first took over the alt-rock airwaves — and MTV Unplugged — in the '90s, it was apparent that front man Scott Weiland was trouble with a capital T.
Not that trouble was a bad thing, at least initially. The trouble with trouble is that while it's nearly a requirement of any good front man, ultimately, if it's not reigned in, such a thing will lead nowhere good.
For Weiland, whose rocker-Pied Piper appeal helped skyrocket Stone Temple Pilots to superstardom on albums like Crush and Purple, trouble has most certainly been been the latter for quite some time. And last night's performance at Warehouse Live with his latest band, the Wildabouts, was proof.
At the height of his career, catching Weiland onstage was a sight to behold. He would claw his way into the music, slinking and scratching like a feral, talented cat as he pumped out the lyrics. The show behind Weiland's brilliant vocals — showmanship, for lack of a better term — worked to amplify his deep connection to his music.
But as of last night, trouble has definitely become a vortex for Weiland, and he appears to have crashed and burned. Badly.
Taking the stage shortly after 10 p.m. — the singer recently vowed to stop arriving fashionably late, and it appears he's sticking to it — Weiland and company opened with "Crackerman," an old, solid STP tune. Given the man's entire career has been built from the ashes STP, now resurrected and inexplicably featuring Chester Bennington. starting the show off with a well-known Stone Temple Pilots song should have started the show off with some fire.
Or a bang. Or...something.
But as Weiland threw himself into the song, sans introduction, and slowly swung the mike while he stumbling in a circle around the center of the stage, it was apparent the prime — and the magnetic trouble of this once-gloried front man — is long gone.
The newer, slighter version of Weiland, complete with a black leather jacket to bulk up his frame, did not slink or claw. There was no sweat or energy, either. Weiland simply mumbled the lyrics into the mike tiredly, at times adding the use of a megaphone, which only seemed to amplify the volume of the disconnect.
Not much effort was made to interact with the crowd, other than when Weiland repeated "Parachute, pair of shoes," over and over while introducing the song "Parachute." He made an odd reference or two to there being a lot of people out there in the crowd, which was pretty solid but still not comparable to the crowds STP saw at the height of their success. Not much more was said, or done, by Weiland.
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At a mere hour and change, the Wildabouts' set alternated between songs off of their new album, Blaster, and STP staples like "Meatplow" and "Vasoline." During a sped-up version of "Dead and Bloated" at the end of the set, Weiland struggled to keep up, making it feel like the song was sped up to end the suffering rather than for effect. Odd, to say the least.
To be fair, as sluggish as Weiland appears now onstage, he does appear to be trying, at least in part. This new, on-time version is a vast improvement from years of late and canceled shows, and his once very-public antics have been kept to a minimum recently.
And it appears Weiland has made the effort of plucking some fantastic musicians to build The Wildabouts, too. The musicians that now stand alongside him are brilliant; solid behind their erratic front man. At times they elevated the sound to ear-piercing levels in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to swallow some of Weiland's struggling vocals.
Perhaps the Wildabouts can help Weiland pull this thing off, with some time and some redirection. There are certainly some old STP fans holding out hope that the third time's a charm for the aging rocker, and the band backing him seems to be all in.
But if we're basing future success off of Weiland's performance Wednesday, this may be the one time that third-time charm has lost its luck. But let's hope otherwise.
The Crowd: Aging alt-rock kids with far less tattoos than expected.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Throw me up in the air, bra!" said the kid who attempted to crowd-surf, but ended up face-down on the floor. Hope he's okay.
Random Notebook Dump: I seriously hope that crowd-surfing kid, and Weiland, are okay.
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