If one point was driven convincingly home at this all-day modern rock festival, it’s that southern California has a lot of really great bands treading the boards these days.
Six of the best of the bunch (which also includes Stone Temple Pilots, No Doubt, 311 and even Blink-182) headlined this charity gathering, sponsored by L.A.’s KROQ-FM, and Levi’s – and each band’s strong performance lived up to the considerable preshow hype.
The post-Sublime reggae-dub bunch Long Beach Dub Allstars kicked off the action on the bigger of two stages around 4 p.m. with 30 minutes of laid-back tracks from their upcoming second album, including single “Sunny Hours.”
The melodic punk-pop strains of Weezer were like a breath of fresh air under the hot afternoon sun. Band played faves from their three DGC albums (“Hash Pipe,” “Buddy Holly”) as well as some new, untitled selections. A stage crasher leaped on the back of temporary bassist Scott Shriner (from L.A. band Broken, he’s subbing for Mikey Welsh while Welsh sorts out his problems in a psychiatric facility) near the end of Weezer’s set, earning the band some bonus cheers.
Pennywise, fresh from their Warped tour stint, was up next, and the political-minded Hermosa Beach quartet gave an inspired show fueled both by the shocking death of the band’s original bassist Jason Thirsk (he committed suicide in 1996, but his loss still haunts the band) and the members’ clear disdain for George W. Bush.
“We’ve been drinking since noon,” declared singer Jim Lindberg. “We’re real professional,” he added, before leading the decade-old group through “My Own Country,” one of the many provocative tunes on Pennywise’s excellent upcoming album “Land of the Free?” (Epitaph). A tribute to Joey Ramone (“Blitzkrieg Bop”) and the band’s latest single “F++k Authority” added fuel to the crowd’s passion. (Radio reports of security personnel using Mace on the rowdy crowd could not be confirmed.)
Rabble-rousing Orange County punk-country band Social Distortion played a typically solid set of tracks from their ample back catalog, including “Story of My Life,” “Mommy’s Little Monster” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Deejay Mix Master Mike and vocalist Mike D of Beastie Boys followed with a brief set of vinyl-bound hip-hop, funk and R&B-flavored tracks from a mid-audience spot near the sound board.
Calabasas-based quintet Incubus made their long-awaited return to the SoCal stage with a beautifully rendered hourlong turn that included such live staples as “Make Yourself” and “The Warmth” as well as a couple from the band’s much-anticipated Epic album “Morning View,” including current radio track “I Wish You Were Here.”
The Offspring, which continues to promote last year’s “Conspiracy of One” (Columbia), squeezed 16 infectious pop-punk songs into their closing 60 minutes, including “Come Out and Play,” “Original Prankster” and closer “Self Esteem.”
Second stage acts included bands Adema, Puddle of Mud and Cold. A portion of ticket proceeds from the estimated 30,000 attendees will go to Do Something, a national youth organization and action network.