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Monday, June 02, 2008

Ashes Divide, Filter & Stone Temple Pilots @ PNC Bank Arts Center

It was a setting fit for a riot at PNC Bank Arts Center over the weekend. The sold-out beer stenched venue was littered with mainstream radio meatheads, their bottle dyed and fried ladies (see photo below) and a missing headliner.

Whether or not there was turmoil going on backstage, it took Stone Temple Pilots a very long, unnecessary hour to take the stage. The obviously anorexic super drunk women sitting around row 120 or so occupied her time taking pictures of every person with eye distance. They had a laugh and took her picture in return. One Planet Verge reporter (who might be the author of this article) wanted to punch her in the face, as it was getting quite annoying.

Meanwhile a mother of four (ages one to fifteen years-old > and this is public knowledge because she is loud and obnoxious) wearing a Playboy bunnyesque tank top that her boobs were overflowing out of decided to take matters into her own bands. “Entertain us!” she yelled. Because, obviously the band could hear her, right?

Then came the chant and on-screen text messages like “Weiland has left the building.”

Oh, yes. What a night.

But let’s start from the beginning…


The morning reveals thunderous weather. Memories of a Red Hot Chili Peppers (WHAT WAS I THINKING!?) / Stone Temple Pilot show at PNC years ago flood my mind. It poured. Fans started to throw mud and piss in the lawn. That was my cue to go home mid-set.

Determined to fare better this time around, I spent the afternoon speed shopping through SIX stores to find rain boots before actually finding a pair at Target. All hail Target.

Doors Open:

After selling an extra lawn seat to a random dude for $15 dollars in front of cops, I started to fear he was an undercover agent. But after reasoning that I charged way below face value, I shrugged it off and went on my merry way to security.

I was deferred to a female body guard to pat me down (new rules) upon entering PNC and managed to bribe the concession stand guy to let me keep the cap of my $5 bottle of Diet Pepsi and pay $5 for a pretzel before I could settle in for openers ASHES DIVIDE.

Lots of anticipation led up to this set.

Led by Billy Howerdell (guitarist for A Perfect Circle), Ashes Divide is indisputably the best new band of ’08 in modern rock. It doesn’t matter that the year is barely half over.

The band opened on a pretty mellow note that set the tone of sophistication. Ashes Divide is not your general loud party rock band playing a 92.3 KRock sponsored show.
That’s not to say they aren’t catchy, though. “Denial Waits” has a chorus that will be glued to heads upon first listen. Those who were wise enough to show up early and catch the band’s set did not stop applauding.

With an Eighteen Visions meets The Cure vibe, Ashes Divide proved it’s a band to watch. Things really pick up during the live show when songs call for heavy bass riffs (hence the 18V reference) and the guitarist and bassist start to rock out more.
Otherwise, the stage is pretty static. It would be nice to see Billy move away from the mic stand once in a while, but if it’s not his thing then let it be.

Guitarist Andy Gerold added his own bit of “pop” by wearing the only non-black shirt and playing a bright orange instrument. It’s cool to see that a heavy band doesn’t have to be all tattooed up and dressed in black to “prove” its toughness.

The only thing that didn’t work in the favor of Ashes Divide was the early set time. The songs, it is surmised, would touch fans more during the night time. But if the “who was the opener” text messages scrawling across the giant screens in between sets are any indication, this band will be headlining very soon.



My notebook reads “girl with fried hair a few seats up. How does fried hair girl get good seats?”

Yea, there were seriously a lot of overly bleached and frizzy haired women there.


I could not wait for Filter. During the first song, I was breaking out my camera saying “I love them!” Then my mood changed.

Richard Patrick gave the audience too much attitude. He was actually getting irritated because people were not cheering for them. Telling the “rich people” in front they were too bothered to get up front and have a good time was pretty lame. It’s a sorry method to get people to cheer for you because they want to prove you wrong.

“It’s the audience that makes the rock concert,” yelled Patrick. But if the band isn’t giving them what they want, then uh….whose to blame for that?

Dedicating a song to “the two fuck heads in the white house” seemed to backfire, too.

Basically, Filter is a great band. They played the songs people wanted to hear. Everyone still loved “the picture song” as one fan called it. But the laid back “I’m a rock star and I’m gonna get out there, wear my sunglasses in the dark, spit water on the crowd and sing like an old pro” vibe of the frontman just soured the experience slightly.


Return of the Rock:

After getting off to a rocky start during the first few songs which left fans questioning his state of mind, Scott Weiland claimed the stage. He owned it the entire show.

Sure, he may have forgotten a few lyrics, but the guy sang like 20 songs for two hours straight. No one has a machine for a memory.

Yes, he looked like a disaster with bleached blonde and hot pink dreads. But that’s what is so cool about Weiland.

The run of the mill fans were lost during songs that weren’t singles. And that’s when you actually got a chance to enjoy listening because no one was singing along.

Stone Temple Pilots are one of the few bands that actually deserve the term “rock star” and watching the members take a bow at the end of the night just makes you hope they’ll continue to rock stages for a long time to come.


* By Joelle, listed to A Perfect Circle’s debut CD for 6 months straight while she was in bed with mono.


** Ashes Divide Photos by over buddy Dave Sgalambro-


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