This decade has been a banner one for unlikely reunions, from The Police, to The Pixies, to Rage Against the Machine, and now, jumping on the bandwagon, Stone Temple Pilots. The grunge-metal combo defied the odds against them Tuesday night at the Glens Falls Civic Center, pulling out all the stops for a show that could have been straight out of the 1990s.
What odds, you may ask? Well, for one thing, STP broke up only five years ago, so there wasn’t much of a nostalgia factor going for them. And frontman Scott Weiland is notorious for his scrapes with the law, in particular his drug abuse, which has derailed the band in the past. His recent exit (or firing, depending on whose side you’re taking) from supergroup Velvet Revolver just added to the drama.
But from the first opening strains of “Big Empty,” off 1994’s “Purple,” it was clear from the audience’s screams that STP was more than welcomed back. Packing a set drawing from all five of the group’s studio albums, but focusing heavily on debut album “Core,” “Purple” and “Tiny Music,” Weiland and company ferociously spat their sludgy rock anthems from the stage, proving to all in attendance that an STP reunion wasn’t such an odd notion.
Weiland’s theatric strut was equal parts Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury throughout the set. Decked out in high heels, skin-tight jeans and a leather jacket, Weiland flailed about the stage, running back and forth and gradually losing articles of clothing, finally becoming shirtless by mid-set.
The DeLeo brothers, Dean and Robert on guitar and bass respectively, created massive walls of sound on “Wicked Garden,” “Big Bang Baby” and “Silvergun Superman,” three songs played toward the beginning of the set that revved the crowd up and started a mini-mosh pit.
Whatever the motivation for reuniting, the boys were clearly having fun, breaking out an abbreviated version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and an unusual jam featuring some beatboxing from Weiland. And although they kept their audience waiting for quite some time before taking the stage, the band’s members certainly satisfied with strong run-throughs of hits such as “Lady Picture Show” and the bone-headed but nevertheless enjoyable “Sex Type Thing,” which got most of the audience members singing along and pumping their fists in unison.
Never a very original band, STP still managed to write some good songs, most of which were on display. The group’s molten melodic masterpiece, “Interstate Love Song,” became the evening’s centerpiece, and received some of the most massive crowd approval of the evening.
The Secret Machines, an extremely inappropriate choice of openers for STP’s arena rock, unfortunately got the evening off to a painful start. The indie noise rock trio looked completely lost on stage throughout a five-song set that felt much longer. Their lack of presence was only magnified by their songs — sprawling, feedback-riddled post punk that’s been done better countless times by countless other groups.
The group fared best on the up-tempo “Lightning Blue Eyes,” where the guitar and bass feedback actually had melodic structure on which to build. These guys have a long way to go before they can command a venue the size of the Civic Center, but with STP mentoring them, they just might be able to figure it out if they pay attention.
Categories: Life and Arts