There are very few frontmen left in rock and roll with the history and talent of Scott Weiland. As the former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, the guy has sold over 40 million records and written countless classic rock tunes that will stand the test of time. I got to check him out over the weekend at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Here’s my report.
Toronto hard rock band Second Pass opened the show, setting the mood for what was to come with their sonic assault of guitar-driven rock and roll and screaming Zeppelin-esque vocals backed by a thick bass groove and heavy-hitting drum rhythms. There were many fans in the audience, and the band got a great response as they blew through cuts from their latest album with the precision and attack of a seasoned machine. Vocalist Veronica Macnamee is one of the best around, filling the room with her ambient voice and owning the audience with her take-no-prisoners attitude. Musically, this band is great and all the players are top notch. Their set was short but sweet, and I must say I was seriously proud to be able to call them my friends. Catch them on Mayhem Fest the next couple weeks with Body Count!
The opener was done, I had a few beers, and was ready to go. I was curious to see what Scott Weiland was going to do. I never saw STP but I did see Velvet Revolver once and am a fan of both bands. I had pretty high hopes. And on all counts, the guy delivered.
Scott came out swinging, opening with classic Stone Temple Pilots tracks “Crackerman” and “Tumble in the Rough” and the place literally went insane. He quickly switched gears and did the Velvet Revolver track “Do It For the Kids” which also went off really well and showcased the versatility of his Wildabouts early in the show. He kept the rock rolling with a new song called “The Way She Moves”, and followed that up with the highlight of the evening for me: a cover of “The Jean Jeanie” originally by David Bowie. That was a great version of a great song and really put the entire experience over the cliff.
At that point, who knew what Scott was going to bust into next. I mean, look at the guys repertoire: it’s pretty hefty. He then rocked into “Big Bang Baby” and the place lost its collective shit. What a great tune. So much energy. Next was “Sucker Train Blues”, one of my favorite Velvet Revolver tracks. I must add that the band backing him really played everything well. It was tight, and complimentary to the original versions. He then brought the house down with “Big Empty”, but immediately kicked it back up with “Slither” and “Vaseline”. I knew when the feedback started that it was only a matter of time before I heard that classic opening drum beat on “Vaseline”. Another classic. Scott closed the set with a new track called “Beach Pop Rock” which he said may be the first single off his upcoming record. It was a cool pop tune. He closed the show with the heavy hitting “Dead and Bloated”, changing it up a bit and making it faster during the verses but went back to half time during the chorus and bridge. I thought it was cool, and it seemed like everyone else really dug it too. The band left the stage after a 5 minute long barrage of noise provided by feedback and pedals and reminiscent of bands like Neil Young and Crazy Horse. The band returned and played two more songs for the eager audience; a new track called “Circles” and the classic STP song “Unglued”.
Over all, it was a great show and I had a lot of fun. I also really liked the venue a lot. People were having fun and security wasn’t being a bunch of dicks. It was cool. I look forward to Scott’s upcoming album, and I’d like to add that I’m happy he is doing well and hope he stays clean for good. He’s a really talented guy and I’d suggest checking him and his Wildabouts out if they come to your town.