Stone Temple Pilots hit the Bourbon Theatre Friday night for a sold out show in support of their new self-titled album. Playing to over 600 ravenous fans, the band brought the house down with platinum hits, a few new tracks, and even some deep cuts for the long-time STP loyalists.
Before legendary STP took the stage Las Vegas natives Dirty Hooks were on hand to warm the crowd up. With a bluesy mix of rock and soul, these guys really got the crowd going. Singer Bobby McCall’s soulful melodies were a welcomed treat. Guitarist Anthony Ratto III handed out lots of tasty licks and drummer Janine Cali thrashed her kit and even played double duty handling a lot of the backing vocals as well.
I was able to catch up with Janine and Anthony from Dirty Hooks after their set for a quick chat.
Stories From The Crowd: You guys were awesome tonight. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard you before, and opening acts can be a little hit or miss, but you guys ripped!
Dirty Hooks: Thanks! We had a lot of fun up there.
Stories: So you mentioned you’re unsigned at the moment, are you working on any new material or are you just focused on touring?
Dirty: We have a new album in the works, and we’re doing a few more dates this summer with STP, Bush, and The Cult.
Stories: Whoa, that’s awesome! You guys must be so stoked to be playing with such huge acts!
Dirty: It definitely feels surreal at times. We’ve been very lucky to get such an opportunity.
Stories: For sure. Have you guys seen an uptick in social media interaction or overall fanbase growth since you’ve been touring with STP?
Dirty: Yea it’s really helped to get in front of a bigger audience and expose ourselves to new fans every night. We’d like to continue that trend.
Stories: Nice! So what bands made you want to be in a band or play music?
Anthony: I saw Green Day open for Bad Religion back before Dookie came out and they just tore the place apart. After that I just knew that music was the path for me.
Janine: When I was younger I saw the band Sugar and everything just clicked for me. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
Stories: That’s cool. Green Day has made quite an impact on rock music and music in general. What would you say are some of your more current influences?
Dirty: We love Jack White, The Ravonettes, The Black Keys, and of course, Stone Temple Pilots!
Stories: You can definitely hear some of the more bluesy bands coming through in your tunes, but you guys really have a great rock sound as well.
Stories: Thanks for chatting with me. Good luck on the rest of the tour!
After Dirty Hooks’ set I mingled amongst the crowd and tried to find a good spot towards the front. As I was waiting for STP to come on, a spirited fan behind me was getting pumped up for the show. She kept woo-ing and high-fiveing people around her. I thought, I’ve got to talk to this lady. Tela informed me that she was super excited to see STP and had driven to Omaha from Lincoln a few days before to pick up craigslist tickets since the show was sold out. I won’t mention how much they were, but ouch, aftermarket tickets stink! We chatted about STP and shows we had seen before. I just love talking to people at shows, you never know who you’ll meet. Tela said she plays in a cover band called Cypress Grove and they do all kinds of songs from Metallica and Black Sabbath to No Doubt! I’m definitely going to check them out. I love all three of those bands (probably No Doubt the most, haha).
Chatting it up with Tela really helped the time pass and before I knew it STP was taking the stage! As “Wicked Garden” played over the speakers, new lead singer Jeff Gut slinked onto the stage in dark aviator sunglasses, bleach blonde hair, and a black leather jacket. I leaned over to my wife Virginia and said it’s like a 90s time capsule! Jeff captured Scott’s energy and mannerisms so much it was uncanny. If I hadn’t been a huge STP fan and seen Scott in person, you probably could’ve convinced me that Jeff was Scott!
They kicked the set off with a string of hits including “Wicked Garden”, “Vasoline”, and their new single “The Meadow”. After a few of their bigger songs, the band broke down into a funky jam session. Bass player Robert DeLeo laid down a smoky groove and guitarist Dean DeLeo matched his intensity with some bluesy riffs.
After the jam session, another hit 1996’s “Big Bang Baby” picked up the tempo a bit. The crowd really responded when Jeff Gut bellowed out the chorus “Sell your soul and sign an autograph, Big Bang baby, it’s a crash, crash, crash.”
Following Big Bang Baby was a deeper cut, “Roll Me Under” from the new self-titled album. Mixing it up, the next track “Lounge Fly” from 1994’s Purple had everyone swaying along to the sultry vocals and beautiful acoustic guitar.
About half way through the set it dawned on me that Stone Temple Pilots have hits for days! It felt like almost every song in the set was a single or had at least been played on the radio in the past. These guys sure know how to crank out the good tunes.
It was a great show and several fans I talked to afterwards were super stoked. One guy I ran into looked like Greg Graffin from Bad Religion. He had several STP tattoos and a Kurt Cobain on his arm. He said seeing STP is like a religious experience.
While hanging near the front of the venue after the show a young guy in his mid 20s setup a small amp and started preaching about the evils of alcohol and rock music. I give the guy credit for having the guts to get out and speak what he thinks is right, but man, it was a tough crowd. Some Slayer fans came out of the show and gave him a real hard time, saying “God’s not real, go home!”, and some other expletives.
Like the Bad Religion looking dude, I guess they already found their religious experience!
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