Stone Temple Pilots And Rival Sons: A Big Bang At Toyota Music Factory!! – Irving, TX 10/3/19

On October 3 STONE TEMPLE PILOTS invaded the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, and put on an epic night of nostalgic music! A highly colorful light show helped make this a perfect setting for reflecting on old musical memories as well as making new ones. It was a double bill concert with RIVAL SONS and special guests WARBLY JETS. RIVAL SONS was up second and although their name was familiar I have never heard their music. Unbeknownst to me I was in for a real treat! Band members Jay Buchanan (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Scott Holiday (lead guitar), Dave Beste (bass), and Michael Miley (drums) are promoting their latest album Feral Roots that dropped in January. The backdrop was of their album cover that disappeared as the music came alive. Showcasing three new cuts the set began with an eight second drum solo that segued into “Back In The Woods,” a knock your socks off rocking tune! 

“End Of Forever” displays Holiday’s catchy guitar riffs and Buchanan’s vocal prowess along with his primal scream. “Look Away” is a funky blues infused number that changes to a heavy synthesizer sound. The way Buchanan and Holiday play off each other is magical. All three of these sounded superb! Yes, three songs in and I’m on the bandwagon. They performed for an hour and fifteen minutes covering seven out of thirteen songs from the new disc. They changed it up with “Pressure and Time,” from the band’s breakthrough debut album and I can see why. My first reaction was GRETA VAN FLEET look out! They hit a grand slam with this song…it totally kicks! The crowd clapped and whistled after each number, I mean how could you not? These guys are fabulous, their level of expertise undeniable.  

Decked out in a dark gray suit Buchanan stated he had visited Billy Bob’s Texas earlier that day and purchased the hat he wore during the first song. He explained the next tune “Where I’ve Been” was about a chick who gets addicted to drugs and a soldier who arrived home from the service. It’s a great ballad about forgiveness from 2014’s Great Western Valkyrie LP. My seat was located in the back of the first section and it was apparent that followers of the band surrounded me, predominantly male who stayed on their feet the entire time I was there. Buchanan embraced the audiences full attention from the first song in!  Singing with an overload of emotion you can feel his infinite passion from the depth of his heart and soul. I was blown away by his vocal range. It’s high and flawless! They closed their set with “Keep On Swinging” from their Head Down album.

After just witnessing one helluva show I can honestly say RIVAL SONS are my new favorite band. They are capable and more than ready to headline their own concert. I predict Feral Roots is the one that is going to take them over the top. I loved them so much I purchased a t-shirt and ordered their new CD as well! These guys are known for continuous touring so be sure and catch them live. I promise you will thank me! Have you ever loved a band and thought that it’s the lead singer who makes this group so perfect?  That was my philosophy about Scott Weiland the original vocalist for STONE TEMPLE PILOTS, the band who seemed to follow in the footsteps of SOUNDGARDEN, PEARL JAM and NIRVANA.  I was so into STP when they hit the music scene nearly three decades ago I truly thought Weiland was irreplaceable. Would I be proven wrong?   

Yes, I admit there was always that mystique about him that drew me in. It wasn’t just the mere fact you never knew what kind of mischief he was going to conjure up. He constantly reinvented himself by altering his vocal style, his appearance and wardrobe. The adoring fans like myself always rooted for him. Somehow we knew it was inevitable Weiland was going to die from a drug overdose which unfortunately became reality in December 2015 when the 48 year old was found deceased on his tour bus with his band THE WILDABOUTS.  

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS brothers Dean DeLeo (lead guitar) and Robert DeLeo (bass guitar) along with Eric Kretz (drummer) recruited their newest frontman Jeff Gutt who came in runner up after appearing on The X Factor. Together they released their second self titled album in March 2018. However, they only graced us with two numbers from the new LP. Lavishing the audience with sixteen of the baddest songs they ever recorded gliding primarily between albums Core and Purple. They merely touched on Tiny Music…Songs From the Vatican Gift Shop. When the lights went out fans scurried to their seats. I was now on the floor standing in the pit close to but barricaded from the stage. STP launched their set with “Silvergun Superman” followed by “Wicked Garden” which really turned the fans on and the applause up! All the guys behind me started singing along, it was great! When they pulled out mega hit “Vasoline” Gutt came off the stage and climbed onto the rail, singing and touching the crowd while he scanned the audience of admirers.  

Moving on, they performed one of my all time faves “Crackerman”. The screaming and hollering from fans echoed throughout the song. Gutt came out strong from the first note and he kept it at full throttle the entire show. You could barely catch your breath in between songs as they continued cranking out their classic hits. His powerful voice completes the fullness of STP. Having a blast he definitely owned the stage sometimes emulating Weiland’s moves. Guitarist DeLeo had a liquid smooth finger technique as he cleanly shredded his guitar keeping the strong electric vibe alive. Another crowd pleaser was “Big Bang Baby” and afterwards the fans began chanting “STP!” The light show was amazing as ever changing colors flashed from hot pink, purple, orange, yellow to reds and blues. When they sang “Big Empty” a group of macho guys behind me all sang along and it was so loud I couldn’t help but grin ear to ear.  

When they whipped out “Plush” everyone else joined in singing. Gutt climbed onto a platform directly in front of where I was standing and suddenly took off his shades and handed them to the young guy in front of me. He went crazy with excitement and we were all just as thrilled for him! Then just as the song ended the bass player flicked his guitar pick and ironically the same guy caught it. Everyone around him started cheering. He was 18 years old and this was his first concert ever. One he’ll never forget! I love nothing more than fans having fun and singing in unison at a concert and everyone in my radius was letting loose. Another crowd favorite was “Interstate Love Song”. After “Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart” the band exited the stage. When DeLeo (guitar) walked past us we all screamed and gave him thunderous applause of appreciation that acknowledge us. Although he performed on the opposite end of the stage his guitar screamed in perfect tone.

For the encore they played “Piece Of Pie” and then blew it up with “Sex Type Thing” and the fans went insane! STONE TEMPLE PILOTS crushed it all night long, making it one of the best concerts I’ve attended this year. Jeff Gutt is a powerhouse and I marveled at his supercharged demeanor. I really don’t think I ever gave STP the full credit they deserve for being such a phenomenally talented group of musicians. Gutt is definitely befitting of the pedigree and has earned every right to be center stage. If the opportunity arises this is one concert you don’t want to miss and be prepared for a BIG BANG BABY!



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