Scott Weiland shows up to The Fillmore and gives an emphatic performance while openers, The Last Internationale, steal the fans for the next chapter of Rock and Roll.
Moderation does not come to mind when you think of Scott Weiland. The seemingly 40+ year old is strutting his collective stuff across the stage, still. Whether he’s in STP, Velvet Revolver, or his newest venture Scott Weiland and The Wildabouts, he knows how to please a crowd and piss off the masses. The ooze of sex appeal still is prevalent in his hip gestures, wild dance moves, and slick slip into the crowd to let fans get just a touch of his skin. When scheduling this show I was inherently curious as to what I was going to walk away with. Some YouTube videos and snaky fans were posting many not so nice things all over the dear interwebs. I’m glad I had half a mind to not listen to any of the quips.
The night started with NYC band The Last Internationale. Lead by Delia Paz, whose voice, while comparable to Janis Joplin in small snippets, is a remarkable vocalist with her own style. It reminded me a lot of Dead Sara with less of a raw punk vibe and a more bluesy rock and roll, “to the jugular” style. The gyrations, hair flips, and utter skill of the young players gave way to the masses shimmying to the songs being played. The last song was such an extension of any song usually performed at a rock show, mostly it’s a few moments of the band’s best or greatest song. I almost felt like I ended up for a good 15 minutes at a Led Zeppelin concert. There were not many vocals, the players stepped to the side of the stages and closed their eyes. Communicating through guitar licks, bass tones, and pigskin, striking the pivotal moment of musical orgasm release. Was someone secretly telling them that they needed to extend their set because Mr. Weiland was nowhere near ready? Regardless, it was a soulful ear-gasm at it’s finest.
While lead vocalist and bassist Delilah Paz channeled her inner Joan Baez and Fiona Apple, we all stood and clapped and danced to what was happening on the stage. There were tilted hips, her crawling around on her knees, and a skilled guitarist at one point standing on the kick drum. Also, try to do this in the first three songs; you’ll thank one of us photographers later for the sick shot! Drummer, Fernando Silva, has a great demeanor on stage and meshes well into this trio.
The Last Internationale is a politically driven band, labeling all they see wrong and attempting to help make a change. They’ve made some waves with their video “The Ballad of Trayvon Martin,” damning George Zimmerman and bleeding light onto the dark and hidden messages we now, just a few weeks later, sweep away into the dark crevices of our newsroom floor. All of the proceeds to the download of this song go to charity. I smell a riot going on in their recording room. They are set to be the most electrically and politically chraged rock and roll bands of 2014 and there are many more socially outraged Americans and crime to keep them busy speaking up for the collective community. Keep an eye and a pen out to help sign any and all things they will be backing. There should be more of this type of musical talent afoot; they breathe new faith into the next generation of rock. Catch them, even if it’s not your thing, they are sure to sway the most fickle of music goers!
Anticipation lay thick in the air as the stage dimmed and we waited patiently for the man, the myth, Scott Weiland. Many guesses were passed around concerning how long it would take him to find his way to the stage and of the condition he’d be in. I’ve happily seen him in in some capacity over 40 times in one band or another ranging from Stone Temple Pilots, to Velvet Revolver, to now, his solo tour. Most of these times he was very spot-on and I think I was probably lucky to catch him this way. Luck had my back again and while he was about 15 minutes late to come on, once he was before us, there was no turning back, it was all smiles and elation. Until, that is, he attempted singing his solo songs.
His backup group, The Wildabouts took the stage first to play us an extended intro. Scott finally sashayed on stage twisting to-and-fro, coming to give the crowd what they wanted. His gentleman’s attire stirred up sex appeal for the female fans who were there to get any piece of the man they could. He dazzled the photographers, and he and the band seemed to have a chemistry I’ve been looking to see him have with someone beyond STP circa 1996 via the dancing they were all doing with one another and the smiles that gave away they seemed to be enjoying this set.
The funny thing about Weiland is that he’s a truly talented man, but it’s that true artist that seems to be the hardest on themselves and then those around them follow suit. The media have been downright brutal. He’s an open book on the stage and off, talking in the raw about his entire life in many of his DVD and book releases. Many of the ups and downs are not pretty, and drugs and alcoholism weigh heavy on him in the public eye. With this new solo project, he opened up his chest of treasured past and gave us a glimpse into the possibility he’s on an upswing with his new band, one I would love to see continue. There were a handful of songs from both STP albums Purple and Core, some Weiland originals sprinkled into the set, as well as some very recognizable covers including David Bowie’s “The Gene Genie”, Libertines’ “Can’t Stand Me Now”, Jane’s Addiction’s “Mountain Song”, and The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.”
Realization set in that this was not 16 year old me seeing Scott perform, this was decades later. He had a scruffy appearance and he just seemed beaten down, yet gracious. Age was weary on his brow. It felt like he was there for the show but sometimes just pushing through the songs. Glimmers of hope showed up when it was an older song he had performed thousands of times. While Scott Weiland is a talented artist with a fucked-up past who is constantly under the microscope, he dusts off whatever is happening and pushes on. Those true to his music will see past it and, like a collective Weiland family, get over all the BS and try to see the music for what it is, an artistic expression of a man and his demons showing us that when you fall down, you can always get back up.
Show highlights included the performance of “Big Empty.” You’d have been hard-pressed to find a single soul in the venue who was not belting out the lyrics. Couples were dancing around and the vibe lifted from a little excitement to “this is what we came to hear.” The closing encore song, “Unglued” took on a new life. It’s upbeat, emotional, and the culmination of the persona that everyone thinks about Mr Weiland. It was a truly ideal song to end the night with.
While the ticket sales were less than stellar for this night, those who came out to see Weiland came out to party, and party we did. It was not an overwhelming, life-altering performance; the song “Paralysis” should be stripped from the live performance. But Weiland is hard-pressed to hit the notes on the record, let alone a stage performance. Some huge highs led us down a winding road of yesteryear where we all hope he can grasp enough energy to boost himself into 2014, when he is rumored to be recording another solo album. Though, due to the underwhelming ticket sales of this show, I’m not sure how many are on board.
Until next time, you can tune into the next chapter of Weiland/STP chaos on the Twitter feeds were all new STP fans go ape-shit over a video shot a few nights ago in which the crowd chanted “Fuck you Chester,” directed at Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame who is the new lead singer of STP. Mr. Weiland thanked the crowd for the support.
The Last Internationale Setlist:
Moanin at Midnight
Crawlin Queen Snake
Mean Mistreatin Mama
House of the Rising Sun
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Indian Blood
Scott Weiland Setlist:
The Jean Genie (David Bowie cover)
Kitchenware & Candybars
Where the River Goes
Mountain Song (Jane’s Addiction cover)
Can’t Stand Me Now (Libertine’s cover)
Dead & Bloated
Roadhouse Blues (The Doors cover)
Remaining Tour Dates:
Aug 20 House of Blues Myrtle Beach North Myrtle Beach, SC
Aug 21 Center Stage Theatre Atlanta, GA
Aug 23 House of Blues Orlando, FL
Aug 24 Revolution Live Fort Lauderdale, FL