Oh, the testosterone...
Oh, the testosterone. Breathe in its moist, fragrant stench and swim in its gooey gelatinous mass. It’s what distinguishes the boys from [a]Scott Weiland[/a] and every other Weenie Roast from the 2000 event.
Though the antennae probably won’t find 106.7 KROQ FM on the dial in Congleton, the self-dubbed “world famous” Los Angeles radio station has left an impact throwing these festivals for eight years now, each more attention grabbing than the previous. Oasis and Blur were on the same bill here, once. Tonight though, shhh, it’s a secret, never mind the fact they’ve been selling $25 t-shirts all day, Ozzy Osbourne is scheduled to perform, but more on that later. Blazing sun beating down in the middle of Southern California, ten minutes from the so-called happiest place on earth (Disneyland), 60,000 people have gathered to watch the RAWK fest of the summer. So let’s get started. Grrrr. Roar! Ugh!
Cartoon sketches, in the motif of the Metallica “Napster.bad” Internet piss-takes, introduce each act as the revolving stage (note to Reading organisers) keeps the show intermission-free. Enter Lit slogging it out in the early afternoon heat, in black suits, but this is California and you don’t have to be Liz Hurley to embrace the motto “anything goes”. 180 degree turn and hello Everclear, who make it clear why Art Alexakis has so vehemently condemned Napster. A few notes in and there you have it kids, save yourself time and a lawsuit, they’re crap.
Cypress Hill, on the other hand, are monstrously indulging, wholly embracing Everclear‘s dull void, slamming, banging and bouncing their frenzied stoner rap out of the proverbial ballpark. Rampaging through ‘Rap Superstar’ and ‘Insane in The Brain’ in between tokes, B-Real and Co. are the uncompromising, mid-afternoon, munchie pop fest. They give this festival a good firm kick up the backside, swiftly followed by Boston’s Godsmack, who do their best to boot it along.
Unfortunately on the receiving end of the boot is pretty boy Steven Jenkins and Third Eye Blind, though charming with his cutesy-wootsie little lispy poo, the nancy boys with their lifeless gooey pop, even if one of ’em did date Charlize Theron, would do well to stay at home. There is an exception: Enter the case of one [a]Scott Weiland[/a] of Stone Temple Pilots, corseted in full drag: a mirrored silver dress, fishnets, fluorescent orange wig, patented leather gloves, who introduces the band saying “I’m Josie and these are the pussycats.” Meowwww! Long ago written off the rock landscape, Weiland weaves and snakes his way back through glaringly fierce renditions of ‘Interstate Love Song’, ‘Big Empty’ and ‘Sex Type Thing’. Who cares that Eminem backed out of the show due to scheduling conflicts, ‘cos tonight, STP are the real slim shady.
No Doubt‘s brief amiable pop interlude blends handsomely into the misogynist-free set by Moby, who, before ‘Bodyrock’, takes a moment to lash out at the moshing. That hasn’t been overly indulgent yet, but soon will be. The Offspring play their standard savoir faire, with frontman Dexter Holland donning his newly emblazoned Napster T-shirt, in addition to doing a huge service for all humanity by kicking Dennis Rodman off the stage, though it’s the last act of kindness all evening.
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Welcome Limp Bizkit, whose Fred Durst does his darndest to incite fans in the bleachers to come down because “we wanna show the whole fucking world how much we can mess up a baseball field”. Security keeps ’em at bay, but with this world at his disposal, Durst keeps defiance alive in between their hard ass version of ‘Jump Around’ and ‘Theme From Mission Impossible’, getting 60,000 people to put one of those fingers on each hand up.
A bemused crowd then greets “surprise guest” Ozzy, whose screams of “I can’t fucking hear you” don’t really do much to increase the returning decibel levels. Not until the entire original Black Sabbath line-up join him on stage for ‘Paranoid’ does it actually sink in who that cranky old fella yellin’ up there is. As cameras pan the audience, it seems only the hairlines that have changed since Sabbath lay down their axes. Welcome once again to gratuitous free-agent mammary glands on the big screen. Hard rock coming back? Oh joy.
Eight long hours into it, from a cloudy mist out steps Korn, whose kilted singer Jonathan Davis pauses in-between their slam-bang-kick-your-mother-and-eat-your-dog fest, to solo on his bagpipe. And tonight he’s probably only slightly more popular than he was in school ,’cos half the audience has left and more are filtering out by the minute. By the time they finish it could easily be mistaken for the 400-yard dash as people file out still talking of “that dress”. [a]Scott Weiland[/a], this was your night.