Back in the early ‘90s when grunge was all the rage, Stone Temple Pilots, with their crunching guitar riffs and aggressive vocals, were lumped in with such Seattle bands as Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.
There were even jokes by Seattle music fans about STP – who actually hail from the sunny climes of San Diego – calling them the “Stoned Tempo Pilots” or “Stone Gossard Pirates” (in reference to Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard), but to be fair, Stone Temple Pilots always had more radio friendly pop hooks than Soundgarden or Pearl Jam and the band delivered all of their alt-rock hits to a surprisingly small (4,000 or so fans) but impassioned crowd at the Dodge Theatre Tuesday night.
Opening with “Big Empty,” the reunited STP played a solid mix of slower, more melodic tunes such as “Plush,” “Creep” and the Beatle-esque “Lady Picture Show” and more up tempo rockers such as “Crackerman,” their breakthrough hit “Sex Type Thing” and “Wicked Garden.”
Singer Scott Weiland was in much better form with STP on Tuesday than he was when he swung through town last year with Velvet Revolver (Weiland left that band earlier this year), stalking the stage in a suit and tie and being much more interactive with the fans than he was when fronting Velvet Revolver, slapping hands with the front row and letting the crowd carry the chorus to “Plush.”
Brothers Dean (guitar) and Robert (bass) DeLeo, along with drummer Eric Kretz, were in fine form Tuesday, seemingly energized by the Stone Temple Pilots reunion (the brothers formed the inferior Talk Show and Army Of Anyone during Weiland’s problems with drugs in the mid ‘90s and early 2000s), with Dean DeLeo pounding out the riffs to “Vaseline,” “Silvergun Superman” and “Interstate Love Song” on his trademark Gibson Les Paul and the dapper Robert DeLeo handling bass duties and occasional acoustic guitar interludes.
The band were at their best Tuesday when performing the glammed up power popper “Big Bang Baby,” a tune with a riff so catchy it sticks to your ribs, and the gorgeous “Sour Girl,” tunes that helped distance the band from their early grunge categorization in the later ‘90s.
The word is out that after Stone Temple Pilots finish up this reunion tour they’ll head into the studio again, and while their popularity may have waned a bit during their extended hiatus, the band can still craft booming hooks and catchy choruses and you’d be hard pressed finding anybody who has seen the reunited band on this tour who wouldn’t buy new Stone Temple Pilots music when it comes out.