Panic! At The Disco (Photo: Alex Rauch)

KROQ Weenie Roast 2018 Recap

Blink-182 & Mike Shinoda highlight a day of great performances

May 13, 2018
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By Ramon Gonzales

There was an early June gloom that shrouded the StubHub Center in Carson for Saturday’s 26th Annual KROQ Weenie Roast. However, the cloud cover worked periodically throughout the day by adding a bit of dramatic flair to the show. The sun would peer through, almost on cue, during what would become particularly memorable stanzas of different sets all afternoon. The Weenie Roast is always a party but something about this summer’s kickoff felt especially optimistic.

Mt. Joy (Photo: Alex Rauch)

For the eager fans that arrived early, the Bud Light side stage did not disappoint. Mt Joy had the tough task of stepping onstage first and proved convincing from the start. The folk-rock five-piece managed to set an auspicious tone with singles like “Silver Lining,” which quickly had the fans in their feels.

Nothing But Thieves (Photo: Alex Rauch)

There were no lulls in the action as Conor Mason and the guys in Nothing But Thieves quickly picked up the energy. Tunes like “Wake Up Call” and the haymaker “Trip Switch” moved the crowd, but the band’s pseudo-ballad in “Sorry” proved to be one of those previously mentioned moments that felt especially moving.

Alice Merton (Photo: Alex Rauch)

The Weenie Roast featured a couple of strong front-women and Alice Merton’s matinee performance definitely upped the bar. Songs like ‘Lash Out” and “No Roots” were infectious as the tennis courts at StubHub clapped along in cadence with the songstress. 

James Bay (Photo: Alex Rauch)

The volume would again hit new levels when the shrill of the audience peaked for James Bay. Scoring another emotive highlight on the afternoon,“Hold Back The River,” complete with backup singers and Bay’s powerful delivery forced the audience to take a deep breath. New tunes like “Pink Lemonade” from Bay’s soon to be released Electric Light also scored big in what would be a well-rounded set.

Mike Shinoda (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Capping off the side stage ceremonies, Mike Shinoda set up shop on the floor among the fans for what would be his first ever solo set. Performing songs from his Post Traumatic EP, songs from his Fort Minor project and some Linkin Park songs, things got particularly heavy when Shinoda performed a piano rendition of “In The End” as a tribute to Chester Bennington. Allowing the fans to take Chester’s chorus, the sun would again slice through the canopy of clouds in what would be arguably the most poignant few minutes of the entire day.

Transitioning from side stage, broadcast stage, and opening the main stage, KROQ’s Jeremiah Red put in some real hours behind the turntables at Weenie Roast. Assembling an eclectic mix of EDM, party anthems, and KROQ staples, fans found it impossible to stand idle.

Manchester Orchestra (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Opting to skip the subtleties of transitioning into the evening hours, the ATL’s Manchester Orchestra quickly went for the jugular. In just a five-song set (with a bit of an instrumental tease), the band managed to rattle the entire arena. Songs like “Pride” and “Shake It Out” were powerful, dynamic, and the first two songs out the gate. Working up a sweaty frenzy, the band would wrap with “The Gold” and visibly left fans wanting more.

Bishop Briggs (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Going from the side stage to the main stage, the 2018 Weenie Roast was especially meaningful for Bishop Briggs. The petite powerhouse dove into her single “White Flag” and managed to get fans to join along. In a moment of candor, Briggs would confide that while she was thrilled to play the main stage, there were a bit of nerves involved just the same. Those nerves proved a non-factor as Briggs pieced together a dazzling set that even included an unreleased jam, complete with melodic expletives in the song, “Baby.”

AWOLNATION (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Aaron Bruno and the AWOLNATION handled the happy hour set and opened with a shredder in “Here Come The Runts.” The song moved with the kind of pace that forced everyone to stop anything else they were doing and aim their eyes at the stage. Much of the band’s set functioned the same way. Newer tunes like “Passion” and “Miracle Man” worked just as well as anthems like “Hollow Moon.” Aaron would really take charge during the final moments of “Sail” as he barreled into the microphone over and over, “We are all Awolnation” as the band wailed to a roaring arena.

The War On Drugs (Photo: Alex Rauch)

In what worked out to be perfect timing, The War On Drugs managed to serenade the fans under the haze of the setting California sun. As the band performed “Pain” under a wash of natural orange light, it became impossible to not feel especially sentimental. Rounding out their time onstage with “Red Eyes” and “Nothing To Find” the band’s brief stay didn’t need any spectacle to prove memorable.

Cold War Kids (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Veterans of the KROQ stage Cold War Kids delivered the goods. Tackling a mix of tunes from their lengthy catalog, the band really earned some brownie points when frontman Nathan Willett managed to sneak in a shoutout to the home field L.A. Galaxy before leading a singalong with, “Something Is Not Right With Me.”

Dirty Heads (Photo: Alex Rauch)

From the very opening notes of The Dirty Heads set, fans knew the party had officially begun. Piecing together a collection of songs that emphasized nothing but the feel good, Jared and Dustin traded vocals and held court over the thousands looking to dance. Songs like “Vacation,” “Burn Slow,” and “That’s All I Need” incited a healthy sway. When fan favorites like “My Sweet Summer” hit, this particular Saturday night felt complete.

AWOLNATION's Aaron Bruno and Rise Against's Tim McIlrath (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Things got volatile when Rise Against hit the stage. Charging through potent punk tracks like “Heaven Knows” and Give It All,” the energy in the arena hit the fever pitch. The band managed to work in a few surprises including a cover of the Minor Threat classic “In My Eyes” with Aaron from Awolnation. The move scored big point with fans and tallied another highlight on the evening.

Thirty Seconds to Mars (Photo: Alex Rauch)

The last-minute addition of Thirty Seconds to Mars added some real weight to the Weenie Roast bill. The band’s ability to transform a rock show into an experience is part of why their fans are so devoted. Not once but twice, Jared invited fans onstage during “Rescue Me” and for the finale, “Closer to the Edge.” As fans in the stands, on the floor, and those lucky few onstage collectively lost their minds to the tunes, cannons sent a wave of confetti through the sky sending the entire StubHub Center into a fit.

Panic! At The Disco (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Who better to follow a 30STM set than Brendon Urie? Opening and closing with selections from the soon to be released Pray for the Wicked, Panic At the Disco’s musical ensemble is nothing short of breathtaking. “(F*** A) Silver Lining” and “Say Amen” are brilliant testaments to Urie’s ability to push the envelope and incorporate some theatrics into rock music. Though fans have now come to expect it, Urie’s rendition of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” still manages to leave anyone within an earshot in utter disbelief at how someone can nail a classic so stylishly.

Finally, 31 Seconds To Mars.

Blink-182 (Photo: Alex Rauch)

Though Mark Hoppus took some liberties with his own band’s introduction, Blink-182 was all business when it came down to the tunes. Considering the band’s extensive catalog, all of the 16 selections in the set prompted a bigger response than the songs before it. From Dude Ranch to California, it’s impossible to find any lull in the band’s stage time. The trio even managed to work in a pop-punk rendition of The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” that really won the fans over. Not that they ever lost ‘em. Few bands could close out the 26-year tradition like Blink. “The Rock Show,” “What’s My Age Again?” “Kings of the Weekend,” “All the Small Things,” “I Miss You,” and “Dammit” were among the handful of reasons that every fan leaving StubHub left smiling. 

Blink-182 (Photo: Alex Rauch)