Weenie Roast 2017: Incubus & Cage the Elephant Members Pay Tribute to Chris Cornell With 'Black Hole Sun'

Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Matthew Shultz of Cage the Elephant
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Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Matthew Shultz of Cage the Elephant sing "Black Hole Sun" as a tribute to Chris Cornell during the 2017 KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta at StubHub Center on May 20, 2017 in Carson, Calif.

KROQ packed up its 25th annual Weenie Roast y Fiesta and took the party over to the StubHub Center this weekend after a long-standing 23 years at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, now demolished, and another at Angel Stadium in 2000. The festivities raged on in Carson Saturday (May 20) with performances from headlining acts including Imagine Dragons, Incubus and Lorde.

While the summer-like heat and rhapsodic alternative music fans brought a lively energy to the event, reflective of years past, many attendees and artists alike came to the show in a state of nostalgia and remembrance after the tragic passing of Chris Cornell earlier this week.

And yet the show must go on. Aside from inevitably touching on the subject in backstage interviews with several bands, toward the end of the night, Incubus’ Brandon Boyd and Cage the Elephant’s Matthew Schultz performed a powerful rendition of “Black Hole Sun” in honor of Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave frontman.

To begin the day, acts such as The Revivalists, New Politics and Judah & the Lion graced the Bud Light stage, followed by Jeremiah Red and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness continuing the music from the main stage. McMahon performed a lively set complete with crowd-surfing on an inflatable off-road truck, while DREAMCAR followed with music premiered just earlier this year.

Lana Del Rey mellowed the scene a bit while debuting her new song “Cherry,” and Hailey Williams brought her usual powerhouse vocals and vibrant energy to Paramore’s set, bringing a perfect blend of songs, new and old, such as “Hard Times” and “Misery Business.”

What with Lorde headlining, the strong female presence was notable in this year’s lineup. Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd told Billboard, “It’s just a great lineup. Maybe we’re at a wonderful time in alternative music and there are really strong songwriters doing their thing and people are into it. The period of time when we first started getting played on KROQ was the late ‘90s to early 2000s, and there were not a lot of female voices happening on KROQ during that time. It was very male-dominated and really aggressive. There is something happening right now that actually feels more like home. There’s a feeling right now in music that is almost more welcoming, and that feels more welcoming to a band like us again. That kind of always goes in waves I suppose, but it seems like whenever the playing field gets more creatively diverse, I get a little bit more comfortable.” Incubus’ Mike Einziger continued the sentiment, saying, “It’s also just awesome to be 26 years into being in a band and still playing a show like this, and being in such a prominent spot on the bill.”

Before Incubus took to the stage, 311 brought on more nostalgia with songs such as “Beautiful Disaster” and “Amber.” Nick Hexum, 311 frontman, shared that night, “I moved out here by myself in the late ‘80s and constantly was listening to KROQ. There were no alternative stations in the Midwest, and so to hear the Smiths, Cure and all that stuff on the radio was so cool. It was mesmerizing, listening to KROQ, learning songs and to be on the station a couple years later was pretty insane. That’s what’s great about alternative — it is a melting pot of different sounds. When we were in our heyday in the ‘90s we were on all these crazy bills with tons of very diverse bands, and that is the point of today. You’ve gotta give KROQ props for that, ‘cause we’ve always felt that being punk was not a certain sound or look or the tempo you play at, it’s ‘We’re gonna do stuff our own way.’ And alternative is just carrying on the spirit that the Clash and people like that started with.”

Cage the Elephant packed its 40-minute set with hit after hit, including “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Come a Little Closer.” Imagine Dragons wowed with hits “Radioactive” and “Believer,” and after Incubus’ set, Lorde finished the night, amidst technical difficulties and some of the 25,000-person crowd leaving, with a dozen songs including “Royals” and “Green Light.”

Perhaps it was the new venue, or the blend of musical talents with such memorable KROQ hits as well as new ones, or all of the above, but there is an interesting quality to alternative music today that is palpable. According to artists, there is an open-mindedness to alternative again which can only bring out more exciting creations for KROQ Weenie Roasts to come.


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