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Weenie Roast goes medium-rare

KROQ's annual rock festival favors mellower tunes than in the past. Stone Temple Pilots make surprise showing.

May 21, 2013|By Brittany Woolsey
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars performs in front of a colorful backdrop at the 2013 KROQ Weenie Roast at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Saturday.
Thirty Seconds to Mars performs in front of a colorful… (Brittany Woolsey )

As the sun beamed on the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Irvine on Saturday, a sold-out sea of indie music fans danced and sang along to some of today's biggest rock artists at the 21st annual KROQ Weenie Roast.

While many of the past years have focused on genres like hard rock and metal, the 2013 festival showcased mellower music and bluesy rock from bands like the Black Keys, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Imagine Dragons, Jimmy Eat World and more on the main stage.

While that venue highlighted some of KROQ's top acts, two side stages, which were open to fans before the main stage opened in the evening, offered up-and-coming bands whose energy made them entertaining to watch.

Kicking off the side stage, Twenty One Pilots, a duo from Ohio, opened the festival on a strong note with its blend of hip-hop, indie and electro sounds. Despite a small crowd, singer Tyler Joseph showed a liveliness that could be compared to that of a headlining band.

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As the crowd grooved, Joseph constantly moved about the stage, from his keyboard to Josh Dun's drum set, and jumped into the crowd on multiple occasions.

New Politics also showed vivaciousness as singer David Boyd did break-dancing moves that captivated the attention of the growing crowd. To feed into their affection even more, Boyd crowd-surfed his way from one side stage to the other.

Later in the evening, when the main stage opened, the musky smell of weed and alcohol dispersed throughout the amphitheater, and female attendees took advantage of the warm weather by wearing midriff tops, while some males opted for going shirtless.

Highlights of the main stage included Imagine Dragons, whose thumping, indie-pop anthems with taiko drums filled the atmosphere, and Jimmy Eat World, which offered its '90s-era hits like "The Middle" and "Sweetness," as well as a new single, "I Will Steal You Back."

Stone Temple Pilots, newly fronted by Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, surprised the festival as the guest performers. Their grungy, '90s sound was odd for the bill, but still well-received as fans could be seen bobbing their heads and singing along.

Bennington, who was performing with the group for the first time and replaced original vocalist Scott Weiland, sounded and appeared natural with the band as he belted songs like "Vasoline" and new single "Out of Time."

"I love this song," Bennington would claim nearly after every song, also noting his personal fandom for the band.

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