May 12, 2015 Stone Temple Pilots take over Irving Plaza, NYC 4-27-15
It has been over two years since San Diego, CA multi-platinum Rock band Stone Temple Pilots parted ways with vocalist Scott Weiland. While to some the decision came as a shock, to others it seemed inevitable, based on the years of issues surrounding the talented singer. Quickly picking up the pieces and continuing the legacy they had spent years to build, the remaining original members Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert DeLeo (bass), along with Eric Kretz (drums) recruited Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington to sing for the band. While the marriage was thought to be temporary, it soon became evident that Stone Temple Pilots and Bennington was more than a one night stand as they together released the High Rise EP in 2013 and took part in some regular touring. With a full-length album in the works with Bennington, Stone Temple Pilots are ready to move forward, and to the delight of fans, announced a month long tour which took part in April. Kicking off in Seattle, WA, the trek began to wind down on Monday April 27th when the band arrived to a sold out Irving Plaza awaiting them with open arms. Wondering if the tour would even happen after Bennington sustained a stage injury in late 2014, forcing Linkin Park to have to postpone the remainder of their tour dates, many on hand felt gracious to know he was in good health and they were about to have a chance to see Stone Temple Pilots Rock-n-Roll.
Warming up the stage was hometown products, Dreamers, currently based out of the borough of Brooklyn. Labeling themselves as Cosmic Rock, the band is configured as a three-piece with Nick Wold (vocals/guitar), Chris Bagamery (drums/ backup vocals), and Nelson (bass/backup vocals). Bringing to the stage a full sound of Rock that displayed influences of Grunge, Pop, Alternative, and Punk, the band started off with “Waste My Night.” Playing on with other songs like “Smoke It,” “Mammals,” and a groovy piece called “No Love,” Dreamers had everyone interested in their styling. Wold displayed the antics of a seasoned frontman as he poured all his energy into the performance and enticed the audience to participate. Showing their appreciation to open for Stone Temple Pilots, they made the most of a well-rounded set playing as they broke into other tunes like “My Little Match” and “Keep Control” which featured unforgettable melodies. Playing a new song, titled “Wolves,” the band provoked more positive response as their guitar driven sound wrapped up on “Not A Love Song,” which had everyone chanting along. Dreamers have a sound that is accessible enough to grab the attention of a mainstream Rock fan, but also intrigue more underground audiences as they pay homage to the classic Alternative scene wonderfully. Be on the look out for a new EP from the band due out this Summer via Fairfax Recordings.
With everyone loose and ready to go, Stone Temple Pilots were up next, and a sense of excitement was felt in the room. For many, Stone Temple Pilots was a band that they spent their youth listening to over and over again. Whether it be the 1992 Grunge classic Core album, the fitting 1994 follow-up Purple, the experimental 1996 release Tiny Music… Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, or anything else the band created thereafter, fans all have their own personal favorites. With two decades of material to cover, Stone Temple Pilots had their work cut out for them, but knowing this band, they were more than ready for the challenge.
With the swagger of a true Rock star, Bennington came out showing off his frontman skills as the show began with “Lounge Fly” before quickly transcending into “Vasoline” as Bennington let out an emotional scream. Only two songs in and the audience was already immersed in the guitar grooves of Dean as Bennington showed a diverse vocal range that gave the songs a new spin, while staying true to their original configuration. Into the music themselves, Dean, Robert, and Kretz sounded musically tight, and most of all, seemed thrilled to be performing live. Showing even more passion, Bennington shined bright on “Wicked Garden” as he reached for the sky with raw raunchy notes during the chorus that everyone loved.
Keeping the hits coming, “Sex Type Thing” was jammed out in glorious fashion before the band finally took a short breather before surprising many with the song selection of “Pruno;” a song off 1999’s No. 4. It was a delight to hear live and provoked many to sing along with Bennington as he grasped tightly to the microphone and leaned forward into the crowd. Broken into sweat and showing no signs of fatigue, Bennington kept his energy level even through fan-favorites “Crackerman,” before seldom heard live “Coma,” and “Sin.” Going into another mainstay Stone Temple Pilot track, “Big Bang Baby,” Robert joined Bennington as backing vocals and the song sounded as addictive as ever. Playfully, Bennington stated he almost got the song right which caused his bandmates to chuckle before he went on to mention the show was in fact being streamed live via Yahoo!. Already a lively crowd, with the widespread knowledge of such, the room seemed to swell even more as the band went into 2013 single “Out of Time,” the first studio recording with Bennington.
As a midway point in the night, the second portion of the extended set went on to feature “Heaven and Hot Rods” and “Meatplow.” Adding another surprise, Bennington picked up an acoustic guitar and joined the band in their rendition of “Adhesive,” setting up for the signature “Creep.” Sober and atmospheric like the song was intended to be, everyone kept the noise to a minimum to take in the moment. Unfortunately, a completely disrespectful fan completely interrupted the vibe of of the show in the middle of “Big Empty” where Dean rightfully asked security to eject the spectator. Baffling to many why one would pay to get into a show merely to heckle and ruin everyone else’s enjoyment, nonetheless, the band did not let it ruin their mojo and restarted the song and followed it with Bennington soaring through “Plush” where he hopped down onto the barricades to get that much closer to fans. Returning to the stage, Bennington seemed humbled by the support of the majority and bowed before Dean, quickly embraced him, which could be seen as a vow of his own support for his bandmate.
With emotions running high, “Interstate Love Song” was somewhat of a table setter for the eruption of “Down.” Raucous and heavy, the song had everyone’s hands in the air as they followed with the speedy, and difficult to pull off vocals of “Sex & Violence.” Not missing a note, Bennington dominated the song in impressive fashion. Closing out the set with “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart,” Bennington once again reached out to grab fans’ hands and received an ovation upon saying goodnight. Clearly not the end, cheers continued to pour down as chants of “STP” began, resulting in an encore that launched with “Piece of Pie” and landed grace within the sludge bliss of “Dead & Bloated.”
Stone Temple Pilots were tight, cohesive, and enthusiastic all night long. Stage chemistry is imperative for a band, and it is clear the band have such chemistry with Bennington. With the vocalist on the microphone, fans were treated to a slew of tracks they may have not heard live otherwise. With the dynamic ability of Bennington as a singer, it will be extremely interesting to hear what Stone Temple Pilots will come up with as they prepare their first studio album in over five years, tentatively due out this Fall. Lay reservations aside, Stone Temple Pilots is as potent and inspired as ever before, ready to push into the future.Photo credit: Charles Eames Photography