IRVINE, California (Hollywood Reporter) - With established
acts dominating the lineup of southern California's annual KROQ
Weenie Roast y Fiesta Saturday, the fans knew what to expect
and the bands knew exactly what to deliver.
Headliner Metallica had performed a midweek show in Los
Angeles, but the $200 and $500 tickets for Wednesday night's
benefit performance priced out most of its So Cal diehards.
Such wasn't the case with radio giant KROQ's annual presummer
charity show, where more than 16,000 fans at a sold-out Verizon
Amphitheatre in Irvine were treated to a 105-minute, 15-song
Metallica set culled entirely from its back catalog.
Metallica's reputation as a live colossus precedes it, and
the band didn't disappoint. Moments of expected studio rust
were few and far between. "Creeping Death" set the tone early,
frontman James Hetfield -- his slicked-back hair and ragged
goatee giving the metal icon a well-aged rockabilly visage --
orchestrating the crowd's boisterous chants of the song's
chorus, then maintaining the torrid opening through the barrage
of "Fuel" and the epic strains of "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
"Do you feel it? Do you feel it like I do?" Hetfield asked
after a tightly wound and noteworthy "The Memory Remains" that
was driven by guitarist Kirk Hammett's blues-tinted shredding
and the frontman's spot-on vocals. The veiled reference to the
Peter Frampton classic paved the way for a trio of Metallica
classics: "Fade to Black," "Master of Puppets" and "Battery."
Not only wasn't any new material unveiled, but there also
wasn't a single mention of the band's highly anticipated new
studio album until the very end of the night, when drummer Lars
Ulrich promised fans a September release and October headlining
tour before leaving the stage after a set-closing second encore
of the Anti-Nowhere League cover "So What" and the song that
got Metallica signed more than a quarter-century ago, "Seek and
Polished and ready for the June 17 release of its eighth
studio album, "Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace," local heroes the
Offspring offered a similar hit parade, albeit pop-flavored
punk as opposed to Metallica's punk-seasoned metal. The new
single "Hammerhead" was right at home amid like-minded,
radio-proven hits including opener "Come Out and Play," the
lush "Gone Away," the racing guitars of "Staring at the Sun"
and lighthearted fan favorite "Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)."
Solid, albeit predictable, sets were delivered by KROQ
favorites and punk heavyweights Pennywise, Rise Against, and
Bad Religion, while the Raconteurs impressed with their
riff-driven, rock 'n' roll throwdown. It was nothing fancy but
deliberately punchy and inspired, which made for memorable set
that culminated with the radio hit "Steady as She Goes."
Following sun-scorched mainstage sets by Atreyu, Irish punk
crossovers Flogging Molly and South African mainstream rockers
Seether, Scars on Broadway delivered a 30-minute set that not
only distinguished the System of a Down spinoff from the day's
other acts but also marked the band as a potential force in the
year to come. Signed to Interscope Records following their
performance at Coachella a few weeks ago, SOAD bandmates Daron
Malakian and John Dolmayan lit their politically conscious and
socially driven powder keg in Irvine, the set exploding in a
melodic scrum of metallic fury, classical guitar interludes,
punk rock progressions and doom-and-gloom-soaked vibrato.