Review by Greg Maki
It’s become popular in online circles to bash Scott Weiland, the erstwhile Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver vocalist now fronting an act billed as Scott Weiland & the Wildabouts. An off night leads to rampant speculation about what substances he might be on, and quotes from interviews are taken out of context, twisted and used against him at every turn. That’s not what we’re about here at Live Metal; our focus is the music, and when we review a show, all that matters is the performance in question. And on this night at Rams Head on Stage, one of the weirdest venues you could imagine for a rock concert, Weiland and his band were on their game.
The venue, located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, is set up more like a comedy club, with all the seating at tables and standing discouraged by the staff. It took a demand from Weiland as he took the small stage to bring the audience to its feet. The band—drummer Joey Castillo, bassist Tommy Black and guitarist Nick Maybury (replacing Jeremy Brown, who passed away March 30)—seized the sudden burst of energy that shot through the room and launched into “Crackerman,” Weiland employing his trademark bullhorn. The enthusiastic crowd, most of whom appeared old enough to have been following Weiland since the ‘90s, ate it up from the start and continued to do so throughout an hour-long set that was split about evenly between songs from Scott and the Wildabouts’ solid new album, “Blaster,” and classic STP tunes (all from “Core” and “Purple”). Highlights included the stomping “White Lightning” from “Blaster” and a searing cover of David Bowie’s “The Jean Genie.”
Weiland moved as much as the cramped confines on stage allowed, and more importantly, he was in strong form vocally. His range might not be what it was in the ‘90s, but who of us hasn’t changed significantly in the past 25 years? This incarnation of the Wildabouts has been together for only about a month and already has become a tight unit. Weiland found a winner in Maybury on guitar; he’s a fine player and real showman at stage left.
A pair of power trios—Stocklyn and Highly Suspect—opened the show. It was an odd atmosphere given the entirely seated audience, which only sporadically showed signs of life in the early going. Still, I’m intrigued enough to want to see both bands again in a more traditional setting.
The fans on this night, though, were all about Weiland, who came through with a strong performance that was equally about celebrating the past and promoting the present.