October 17, 2004
Velvet Revolver put on the most surprising performance of the festival. The first thing out of vocalist Scott Weiland's was, "We're Velvet Revolver, and we play fuckin' rock 'n roll." Sunday night at Voodoo Fest in City Park, they WERE rock 'n roll. I didn't think they would rock so hard or so well. They played tight songs that bursted with rock bravado. Breakdowns that built into a frenzy. Explosive, extended song endings. Sprinting from one side of the stage to the other for no reason.
And there was Weiland, a front man for the ages. I'm sure a lot of women want his waistline. The close to emaciated Weiland wore glittering silver pants, no shirt, and a German WWII officer's hat. He spun, strutted, pointed, and hung his arm drunkenly around Slash. As the band ripped through the Guns 'N Roses classic "It's So Easy," it was obvious Weiland had gotten some of his moves from Axl.
The shirtless(bassist Duff McKagan and lead guitarist Slash) made up the band's majority. That Los Angeles bony heroin look worked. Actually, I've never seen Slash or Duff, both formerly of G'NR, with a shirt on.
Velvet Revolver played driving, straightforward rock that catered to Weiland's vocals. As "Set Me Free" built through noise into the chorus, Weiland's powerful, cutting voice added to the tension and made my blood boil. The music itself didn't re-invent rock, but since it was created with such energy and attitude, it didn't have to. While Weiland sweated charisma, it floated off of Slash in a subtle way. I mean, he's Slash. A living modern rock legend. He proved why during the concert. Slash played some sick, rippin' solos with his guitar vertical to the ground. After the crowd mimicked Weiland's repeated stand up and sit down movements, Slash told the crowd they were cool and that he didn't know what to expect next. Slash also thanked the crowd before the band left the stage. It was nice to hear Slash say some kind words, but at one point, I wanted Weiland to shut up. He kept rambling, and I mean rambling to the point where he was determined to keep speaking even though he didn't a thought process in the works. He wanted the crowd to "exercise" their rights. I guess after being in jail, he's got a sore spot for having them taken away.
The band ran through many songs off of their debut album, "Contraband," including "Superhuman," one which is rarely played live. Along with "It's So Easy," they continued their former band theater with STP's "Sex Type Thing." They encored with a cover of Aerosmith's "No More, No More."
If you want good, theatrical rock 'n roll full of frills, you know where to look.