Friday, July 20 , 2018, 6:56 pm | Fair 71º


Paul Mann: Stone Temple Pilots Land at Santa Barbara Bowl

Energetic concert is a homecoming of sorts for San Diego-based veteran rockers

The Stone Temple Pilots returned to the Santa Barbara Bowl last week to celebrate lead singer Scott Weiland’s 43rd birthday by playing a concert for several thousand emphatic fans.

Early-birds Wednesday were treated to a short but strong opening set by teen rockers Jetstream. A product of the Agoura-based Paul Green School of Rock Music, the group has been playing together for nearly five years. Bringing a fresh face to a very retro 1970s rock sound, the band seemed to channel a strong Grand Funk Railroad influence, right down to the funky bass and drum backbeat. The group played feverishly, delivering crisp vocals and expert timing. This young band definitely seems to have a future in the rock world.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club played next as the short fall day quickly turned to a cool crisp evening. BMRC has been playing its dark, almost gothic, indie music for more than a decade with much critical success. The band’s style borrows from retro alternative bands like the Velvet Underground and blends more modern influences, like The Jesus And Mary Chain, into its own unique dark sound. The band is well known for its explosive live shows and didn’t disappoint fans at the Bowl show with a powerful delivery. The band has a troubled past and original drummer Nick Jago has taken several drug-induced breaks from the band. Leah Shapiro, from The Ravenettes, is the band’s go-to backup drummer and is taking the reins for the current tour. Her style blends well with the group, creating a power trio capable of producing a wall of sound.

An excited crowd waited in the darkness as the Stone Temple Pilots prepared to take the stage. Fans surged to their feet as the group burst onstage in a crescendo of sound and light. Right out of the gate, the veteran rock band took a commanding presence of the stage, with exaggerated rock-star antics and precision playing.

The San Diego-based STP has been an American rock phenomenon since the release of its 1992 debut album, Core. The band plays with a fundamental arena rock style perfected by hair bands in the ‘70s. But it have melded that core sound and style with contemporary sounds over the years, beginning with the grunge movement that was so popular in the early ‘90s. The result is an ever-evolving, grandiose rock style that has produced an impressive library of rock anthems.

Ecstatic fans danced the night away and screamed the lyrics as the band covered nearly two decades of material, playing favorite hits. Weiland, notorious for his drug-induced bad behavior, appeared in top form, looking fit and sounding coherent and strong. Weiland seemed happy to celebrate his birthday by playing for an appreciative audience.

Between songs, members of the band reminisced of their time spent in Santa Barbara, including their 1995 extended stay while recording their album, Tiny Music ... Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop. The band’s delivery of new material, interspersed with older songs that it hadn’t played live in many years, created a rich celebratory presentation. Fans of STP, from different generations, all waited for their favorite hit of the night, and broke into a frenzied response as they got what they were waiting for. It is a good bet no STP fan went home disappointed on this night.

Click here for additional photos of the Stone Temple Pilots performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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